Belews Lake is a very popular boating and partying spot for Guilford County residents – and it may get a lot more popular for them if Forsyth County moves forward with a proposed major park project on the lake.
On Tuesday, March 19, Forsyth County announced that the project will take another step forward later this month: The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners plans to hold a public comment session on the Belews Lake initiative.
That comment period will allow the commissioners to get input from those who want to see the park created as well as from any who don’t; and the board will also no doubt get a lot of ideas as to how the park should be developed and what activities and amenities it should offer. The public comment session will be held on Thursday, March 28 at 2 p.m. at the Forsyth County Government Center at 201 N. Chestnut St. in Winston-Salem.
Forsyth County is considering the purchase, preservation and development of roughly 215 acres of Duke Energy-owned land to establish the new park that will, if created, include about two miles of lakefront along Belews Lake.
For years in Forsyth County, there’s been a strong feeling among many that a public park was needed in that area and, in an effort to make that happen, the county entered into talks with Duke Energy since the power company was a major property owner of land around the lake.
Recently, Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Director Mike Anderson said that he thinks the site will be popular with Guilford County residents if the park is established.
“It’s close enough to the line that we expect to see people from Guilford County – and they are already familiar with the area,” he said of Belews Lake.
No entrance fees are planned for the park if the Forsyth County commissioners decide after the public hearing to move forward on the project.
At the public hearing later this month, each speaker will be given three minutes to state their opinions.
According to a statement issued by the county on Tuesday, the county anticipates any future development to be of the “passive park” variety with amenities like hiking trails, picnicking and bank fishing.
In order to gauge public interest and evaluate input, Forsyth County staff has already held some “drop-in sessions” for citizens to hear preliminary plans and provide feedback. The county has also been using an online survey to collect input as to whether or not the project is a good idea.
Guilford County and Forsyth County currently jointly own and operate Triad Park – a park that straddles the county line of the two – though Guilford County isn’t expected to play any role in the new park project at Belews Lake.