We're checking out some of Statesville's Parks during National Parks & Recreation Month.
I loved going to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park when I was a girl. Back then it was called Lakewood Park, though my family always called it "the duck pond".
The ducks have been in the news lately as they became the target of intense cruelty by unknown people. Some ducks were shot, one had its feet cut off and another beaten over the head. The inhumanity of these acts upset many of us that have loved them over the years, and the City worked with Carolina Waterfowl Rescue to remove over forty and rehome them to safer places.
But ducks are back in the pond and strutting along the banks, probably the wild ones that flew off during the rescue. Hopefully many people are watching out for their safety and it will now be a good place for them to be. I know more eyes will be alert to potential abuse.
MLK Park has much to offer. You can't miss the amphitheater as you enter the park. This has probably been under-utilized in recent years but the outdoor venue was the site of Theatre Statesville's most recent production of the Jungle Book and it has also been used by other groups. It's a nice place for outdoor theater productions and musical performances. (Take cushions or blankets to sit on and don't forget the bug spray.) When not in use I have seen budding actors and actresses enjoying the stage in play.
There are three picnic shelters in the park, one very large, and a gazebo. These are a great place for family reunions, birthday parties, and meetings of all kinds.
The shelters, amphitheater, and gazebo can each be rented for $15 an hour. Call the Administrative Office at 704-878-3429 to inquire about rental availability.Reservations must be made in person at the Administrative Office, located in the back of the Statesville Fitness and Activity Center located at 1875 Simonton Road.
The park has two bathroom facilities.
The fountain is a nice focal point on the lake. Fishing is allowed in the lake on Mondays through Thursdays (not on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday).
There are playgrounds for children on either side of the lake, with benches scattered throughout thr park.
There are nature trails, located behind the back picnic shelter.
The Jack H. Springer Horseshoe Courts are located at the end of the road, and have twenty-four lighted, paved and fenced regulation horseshoe courts. There are also two bocce courts located there. National horseshoe tournaments have been hosted there in the past.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, located at 911 Lakewood Dr., has much to offer for people of all ages. The 25-acre park has gotten some negative publicity lately, but it is a beautiful place that should make the city proud. It will always be "the duck pond" to me and I will never tire of spending time there watching them. If you haven't checked it out lately, maybe you should.
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