Check out the inside of the North Meck Rec Center

The sleek entrance area includes a check-in desk and serves as the lobby for the multi-purpose gymnasium and an access point for activity rooms and features on the second floor. /Lee Sullivan

CORNELIUS – In 2008, Mecklenburg County voters – including eager residents of north Mecklenburg communities – supported a $250 million park and recreation bond package to finance the construction of a collection of proposed public recreation facilities.

In the years that followed, with some expressed disappointment at how and where the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation projects were evolving – and later some public and political prodding as part of the process – plans for a Northern Regional Recreation Center began moving up the county department’s to-do list.

In March 2018, hundreds of area residents of all ages attended a three-hour open house event at Bailey Middle School, where parents and kids were asked to identify amenities they would like to see in a regional recreation center. Voting with colorful stickers on posters displayed throughout the meeting room – and later through write-in and online surveys – residents made their choices clear, with pools prioritized but other activities encouraged as well.

Nearly two years later, in the early days of an unfolding pandemic, groundbreaking ceremonies that almost certainly would have attracted an overflow crowd were delayed and ultimately skipped, but the early stages of site clearing on a 43-acre tract off N.C. 115 near the Cornelius-Huntersville border stirred interest as the first physical signs that what was dreamed of in 2008 was actually on the horizon.

Its circular slide – with an outdoor component visible from N.C. 115 that is already a rec center landmark – but the family leisure pool also includes a collection of amenities. /Lee Sullivan

And now, nearly 14 years since the bond package was approved, four years since the first public input session and – pretty much on schedule – two years since land-clearing began, the Northern Regional Recreation Center is almost ready for action.

“Soon” is the go-to term for a grand opening, with interior work in progress and officials still coping with COVID uncertainties. Sometime in March, maybe April, have been the off-the-record, unofficial stabs at when the center opens.

When it does, the features of the $40 million, 85,000-square-foot-facility will include two pools – a 25-yard, eight-lane lap pool and a family-friendly leisure pool (the one with the slide that includes the covered-outdoor loop) – along with a multi-purpose indoor sports court, and a collection of health and fitness amenities.

Cardio and weight rooms, a fitness studio, a classroom and flex spaces for a variety of community programs are also among the indoor features as is an elevated walking and running track above the edges of the indoor court.

A play meadow and an expansive outdoor venue for festivals, concerts and other community gatherings are included.

“Any day now” may soon replace “soon” on the parks and recreation calendar. For updates, visit or search “northmeckrec.”

The space for basketball is bountiful.

Most prominent pieces are in place, with landscaping and some final touches on the outside slide in progress, at the 85,000-square-foot, long-awaited Northern Regional Recreation Center.

One response to “Check out the inside of the North Meck Rec Center”

  1. Michael Barry says:

    Looks Beautiful, I am almost 80 and am looking for a place to swim or I should say exercise. I currently live in Huntersville on RT 115. I have Silver Sneakers through my health care Provider. If you could please send me information on becoming a member. Thank you, Michael Barry

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