DAVIDSON – The land that encompasses Abersham Park has gone through several phases in its history, the latest being an agreement with Mecklenburg County giving the town control of the property for a historically significant period of time – four score and seven years.
The county-owned park is now leased to the town. The lease was approved at the June 19 Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners meeting and lasts until 2105, which is when a similar agreement regarding the adjacent Allison Farms Park ends.
Nestled in the far northeastern corner of Mecklenburg, the approximately 240-acre Abersham has gone through a series of upgrades the last three years. Those, according to the lease, include modifications and improvements to the existing parking and roadway network, new greenway trails and additional parking. Davidson’s agreement to the lease was contingent on those being completed but a picnic shelter is still scheduled to be constructed.
“It’s a tremendous benefit for the town to have access to the open space,” Town of Davidson Parks and Recreation Director Kathryn Spatz said.
The facility that Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Director W. Lee Jones calls a “passive park” is mostly used for biking and walking via 2.5 miles of paved paths that also run through Fisher Farm Park. Some of those roads remaining from a debunked neighborhood are laid with a string of barriers to separate vehicle traffic from cyclists and pedestrians.
“People like to ride their bikes, walk their dogs,” Jones said. “It’s beautifully laid with its meadows.”
Jones said any sort of general maintenance or capital repairs, such as cutting the grass, will be the responsibility of the town. In the event Davidson is unable to fulfill its repair obligations, the county will fund and execute such needed repair work, the lease states.
Beyond generic county parks and rec and parking signs, nothing currently denotes the land as being Abersham Park. The free park’s two entrances are at the intersection of Shearer Road and Pleasant Garden Drive along the eastern edge and Grey Road at Greenwold Drive closer to town.
“We had someone who showed interest to pay to change the name of the park, but we’re moving forward, and signs will be up in the next couple of weeks,” Jones said.
The road signs at the latter intersection still denote the name, however. And there is one private residence within the property boundaries on Abersham Loop Road.
The county purchased the park, located in Davidson’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, in 2011. Jones said beyond folks enjoying the serene landscape of the land, there have been road races and a small-scale music festival on the property.
“People really love it,” he said.
Spatz said once the picnic shelter is complete, there will be an official grand opening.
Abersham is one of seven Mecklenburg parks operating through interlocal agreements with county towns and cities.
The Allison Farms property is not part of the lease, and the town still owns Fisher Farm.