Our View: Walnut Creek Park welcome addition to IL

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After more than four years of waiting, the excitement was palpable as Lancaster County officials cut the ribbon April 24 to officially open Walnut Creek Park.

The event, originally slated for last October, but delayed due to legal issues, drew local officials and residents, all eager to see the new 60-acre, $7 million county park complex in Indian Land. 

Described by Lancaster County Council Chairman Larry McCullough as a “jewel,” the new park includes lighted baseball/softball fields, soccer fields, practice fields and outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, playgrounds, picnic area and a field house with park offices, concessions and restrooms.

After sitting idle and neglected for years after original developer Lawson’s Bend walked away from the whole Edenmoor project, the fields, courts, playgrounds and buildings are no longer deserted.

The first public event was held even before the ribbon-cutting, when Lancaster County Parks and Recreation Department held its annual baseball jamboree April 13 at the new county facility. And starting this week, the park will begin hosting baseball and softball tournaments three times a month through September.

Eventually, Walnut Creek Park will include access to the first Lancaster County portion of the Carolina Thread Trail along nearby Twelve Mile Creek. 

What brought about this transformation?

The commitment and dedication of Walnut Creek’s new developer, Edenmoor Land Acquisition partners LStar Management and Saybrook Municipal Opportunity Fund, to fulfilling the original vision of the community. 

ELA bought the development, including the park, in a tax sale in late 2011. The company worked hard to complete and restore the vandalized park complex before turning it over to the county for public use.

The park and an EMS station, turned over to the county in May 2012, were both part of the county’s development agreement with Lawson’s Bend, which ELA partners LStar Management and Saybrook Municipal Opportunity Fund took over when it bought the property.

“Thinking back to four years ago, we found the property in a heartbreaking state of neglect,”  LStar managing partner Kyle Corkum said on the Walnut Creek website. “And now, through the hard work and dedication of many committed individuals, we see the fields full of children and parents cheering them on from the sidelines. It’s a dream come true.”

“We could not be more pleased with the LStar and Saybrook teams,” McCullough said in the same posting. “They said what they were going to do and then they did it. Walnut Creek’s miraculous makeover will benefit not only the community’s residents, but Lancaster County as a whole.”

Longtime Walnut Creek resident Jeff Phillips, who attended the ribbon-cutting, said he was impressed both by the park and ELA’s commitment to finishing the project.

“We’ve been waiting for years,” he said. “They’ve kept their promise.” 

We agree with him and applaud ELA for its work in restoring the park and turning it over to the county. We’re sure this much-needed community amenity will get a good workout and look forward to plenty of fun times at the new park.