LAURINBURG — Scotland County’s Parks and Recreation Department is down one ball field after the county commissioners voted on Monday night to end the county’s lease of the By-Pass Park property on North Wilkinson Drive.
The four-acre park, which is owned by the city of Laurinburg, comprises two baseball fields. According to Parks and Recreation Director Shannon Newton, the park has been in place for four decades, but it has not been formally used for games since 2009.
“That was one of the main places we played until we opened the Morgan complex, but when we opened that we stopped playing games there and several other places,” Newton said. “We’re working on accommodations so people have other places to practice.”
On Tuesday, crews were at work dismantling the backstop fencing on both diamonds.
Not far from By-Pass Park, the county continues to maintain Jaycee Park just behind Hillside Memorial Park cemetery on Hillside Avenue and King Street.
According to City Manager Charles Nichols, the former baseball field may come into play in the future to provide for growth at the cemetery, which most recently expanded in 2015. The city will take over the maintenance of the By-Pass Park property and install a natural vegetative barrier.
“We have a whole scaled-out plan for the cemetery and future phases of expansion for the cemetery,” he said. “We’re going to secure it and look at buffering the cemetery from the mobile home park that’s behind it.
Terminating its lease of By-Pass Park is part of an ongoing review by the county’s parks and recreation advisory board of existing parks and activities and how well they conform to the needs of Scotland County residents.
“Unfortunately there are some properties out there that are underutilized — that’s not to say they’re not ever used, but the cost that it takes for our guys to go out there and keep that property in the kind of condition that we expect it to be in if it’s going to be used at all is pretty significant,” said Commissioner Guy McCook, who also serves on the Parks and Rrecreation Advisory Board.
“If we can take small pieces of property like this that are being underutilized and kind of get away from them from a maintenance standpoint, then I think it’s in our best interest to do that.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.