ROCKINGHAM — A new addition to Hitchcock Creek’s Steele Street access officially opened on Monday in the form of new playground equipment and City Manager Monty Crump is hoping it will increase traffic and help boost ecotourism.
“It is an impressive addition to Steele Street property and I think supplements recreation activities there very well,” Crump said. “A lot of folks were having birthday parties there so it’s just another opportunity for the kids.”
Crump added that another picnic shelter will be built on the other side of the playground to give the property two. It will allow the city to rent out the shelters for functions for a small fee as opposed to before when they were on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The new shelter is due to be delivered today, but Crump said it could be 30 to 60 days before the Public Works Department will be able to build it. Currently, most of the department is installing new water lines to the Lidl Grocery Store on U.S. 74 Business.
New security cameras have also been installed at the Steele Street park to cover the entire site, Crump said.
“With the community garden and the kids, we wanted to make sure the security system is online and monitored 24 hours a day by the Rockingham Police Department,” he said.
There has also been a license plate reader set up that will read the plates of all vehicles that drive in and out of the property.
“That was just another safety security feature we wanted to add,” said Crump. “Not as a result of any particular incident. It’s just security.”
For city councilman and father John Hutchinson, the new playground is a chance to get more people outside and exercising.
“I believe that good things happen when people get outdoors. Other people must believe it, too, because Hitchcock Creek has quickly become a popular recreation site in Rockingham,” said Hutchinson. “When you get down there, it is so peaceful and relaxing that you forget it is just a few blocks from downtown. We really hope the addition of playground equipment will encourage even more people to get outside, exercise and enjoy the outdoors. I’m very excited about the addition, both as a parent and a council member.”
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.