By BEN LEDBETTER
LENOIR, N.C. — For tourists heading to see the mountains of western North Carolina, there are certainly plenty of attractions.
However, there are also many sights in the foothills.
One of those is the Broyhill Walking Park in the Caldwell County seat. The park is located on 20 acres, features a .43 mile walking loop, a lake, nature sanctuary, botanical gardens, observation deck, pavilion, and new restrooms. It's open from 6 a.m.-9 p.m.
Workers recently completed renovations to the park after the Broyhill Family Foundation donated $100,000 to the city of Lenoir in January.
The renovations included replacing the flooring on the observation deck and converting the bathrooms into three single-unit restrooms.
Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons said he has been grateful for the foundation’s support.
"The Broyhill Family Foundation has always been a great partner and has made sure the city had funding to make repairs, buy mulch and plants, and keep the park looking beautiful," he said in a statement.
According to the City of Lenoir, the park is located in an old quarry. When the Civilian Conservation Corps acquired stone from the quarry, the lake was formed. Broyhill Industries co-founder Tom Broyhill donated the land to the city for a municipal swimming pool in 1938. The city built a pool in 1947. It was shut down when the Lenoir Aquatic and Fitness Center was built.
Lenoir Parks and Recreation Director Kenny Story remembers going to the former pool when he was younger.
"We use to go over there and swim all the time," Story said in a statement. "I was in junior high school. The pool house was about where the restrooms are now. The driveway went to the right and around to the pool house. That was where we went into the pool."
For Gibbons, heading to the lake was something he remembers fondly.
"I remember fishing in the old lake before the park was built. It was one of my favorite places to go growing up," Gibbons said. "When I worked at the country club, the club and the city pool would share lifeguards."
Under the guidance of Paul Broyhill, the Walking Park was finished in 1992. According to a news release from the City of Lenoir, Paul Broyhill got the idea for the park's gardens when he visited Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada. The Butchart Gardens was built in an old limestone quarry.
Broyhill Family Foundation Executive Director said in a statement that she has enjoyed working with the city on maintaining the park.
"I have found this to be one of the most enjoyable parts of my job, to work with the city on this park," she said. "The city is always cooperative and works hard to make it a place where people from all walks of life can enjoy safely the beauty of nature. Mr. Paul Broyhill loves this park, as does everyone who visits here.
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