Ready Preddy: County opens new park
Despite slimmed down budgeting, Albemarle County will open two new parks this year. On May 19, it cut the ribbon on Preddy Creek Trails Park, the first to allow horses to canter along with hikers, bikers, and runners on its 571 acres and nearly nine miles of trails,
"We know we're getting a lot of equestrian use because horses leave more than footprints," quipped parks and rec director Bob Crickenberger at the park's Thursday morning dedication. Whether horse droppings will become a problem is TBD. As for dog walkers: bring along a plastic bag.
One way to deal with sliced budgets is to recruit free labor, and Crickenberger and Supervisor Ken Boyd paid tribute to the volunteers who put in more than 1,700 hours clearing 8.6 miles of trails. The cost to the county for the park was $332,990, according to Crickenberger.
Albemarle bought the parcel in 1969 to use as a reservoir, but a 1977 study determined its capacity wouldn't suffice, said Boyd. The nearly 600-acre tract sat untapped for years.
"In 2003, when I first ran for the board, I was walking door-to-door around the neighborhood, and I was asked what we were going to do with that Preddy property we owned," recalls Boyd, who was unaware the county held such a large tract, which includes 104 acres in Orange County and 15 acres in Greene.
When Parks and Recreation did a needs assessment in 2004, number one on the list of what citizens wanted were more natural areas and walking trails, says Boyd. The proverbial light bulb went off; in 2006, Albemarle supes formally okayed the project.
Preddy Creek hugs the far northeast border of the county, and later this year, another horse-friendly park will open in the far northwest corner of Albemarle. The approximately 600-acre Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve will open late this summer, and bumps the county's parks total to 3,900 acres.
Updated 5/21 with Albemarle's cost for the park.Read more on: preddy creek park