MILLS RIVER, N.C. (WSPA) – The town of Mills River has been awarded $251,258 to fund a project which will make accessing a local park easier.

The grant come from the state’s Parks and Recreation Authority. The 2021 state budget set aside $10 million for a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to give grants to local governments for parks designed for children and veterans living with disability.

The money will be used to build a new wheelchair-accessible playground with shade trees, a slide, a musical garden, a sensory garden with raised boxes and other amenities. The new park will be connected to the parking lot and existing trails via a paved walkway.

Mills River Park is currently the only publicly developed park resource within the town, and sees roughly half a million visitors each year. A recent town-wide master plan and park site planning project revealed a need to improve access to the park for all users, as well as a need for extra accommodations for people with disabilities.

Building the new park will take some time. Work on the park project could start sometime next year.