Wednesday, May 29

Idea For Access Road to McCrary Ballpark DOA

Drone photo of the renovations of McCrary Park from March of 2022 (Scott Pelkey / Acme News Archive)
Drone photo of the renovations of McCrary Park from March of 2022 (Scott Pelkey / Acme News Archive)

ASHEBORO N.C. – Homeowners around the newly renovated Historic McCrary Ballpark have been vocal against a now dead set of ideas for improving access to the ballpark.

On July 26th, 2022, the City of Asheboro held a special meeting to discuss ideas for improving access to the newly renovated Historic McCrary Ballpark. Among those ideas, an access road nicknamed “Power Alley” which would have connected Lexington Rd to Southway Rd, which received vocal opposition from nearby homeowners. Now, just a week after that meeting, any plans the city had to improve access from Lexington Rd are dead.

The McCrary Mill built the ballfield in 1946 as a home for the company’s Industrial League team named the McCrary Eagles. The ballfield began hosting Legion Post 45 games in the late 1950s.

By the time the city of Asheboro acquired the ballfield from the mill in 2017, and began plans for improvements between 2020 and 2021, developments and homes had sprung up around the it, including Lexington Commons which had started development in the early 2000’s and Timbal court in the early 2010’s. Now landlocked by residential neighborhoods, the city had to decide what to do with the money for improvements.

McCrary Ballfield (1985 vs 2021)

Photos from Google Earth & USGS

Once the city knew how much it had to work with for renovations of the ballpark, they first looked at alternative locations. Among some of the ideas, Henley Country Rd, Old Cedar Falls Rd, and the intersection of McCrary St and Sunset Ave but all these locations were rejected due to either unsuitable terrain or for being prohibitively expensive.

When moving the ballfield was considered not to be an option, and the choice was made to renovate the existing ballfield, the next step for the city was to look at ways of improving access. According to city manager John Ogburn who spoke at the meeting, the first of those ideas was to widen North McCrary St from I 73/74 to Southway Rd, but that idea had to be scrapped after the city found that they would need to annex a majority of the route, get approval from the state legislature, and pay the NC DOT $650,000 up front for street improvements.

City of Asheboro

Another route dubbed “Power Alley” would have connected Lexington Rd to Southway Rd, joining the two roads at Timbal Ct via a wider section of access road. Ogburn said the city contacted the family that built the home ahead of the meeting.

It was at that meeting that local homeowners were vocal about their opposition to ideas the city was proposing. An officer for the Lexington Commons development spoke saying they were opposed to any increase in traffic on Lexington Road and they were upset about the proposal. Other residents expressed concerned about safety, land value concerns, and one man who said the ideas felt disrespectful pointing out that other cities did not have ballfields located in residential neighborhoods.

The meeting ended with the mayor saying that another meeting was possible, and its date would be announced. Just three days later, however, the city issued a statement on its website:

“Mayor Smith and the Liles family have announced that neither a contract was offered nor accepted for the purchase of the Liles property. Mayor Smith further reported that since the Liles family has decided not to sell their home, this effectively ends discussion of this option to improve public access to McCrary Ballpark.”

City of Asheboro Website

With that announcement any ideas that the city had for improving access from Lexington Rd died.

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