Quarry Park opens to public

Photos by Alphonso Abbott Jr.

Quarry Park opens to public
August 17
04:55 2017

Winston-Salem’s hidden gem is hidden no more as Quarry Park held its grand opening on Tuesday, Aug. 15.

Quarry Park sits on about 200 acres of land with its centerpiece being a water-filled quarry that can be viewed from overlooks. The site was formally Piedmont Quarry, which for decades had been a hidden attraction quietly enjoyed by those in the community.

“For some people, this is a neighborhood secret, we’ve been sneaking down here for years,” said Southeast Ward City Council Member James Taylor, who is also publisher of The Chronicle.

Piedmont Quarry started in the 1920s, providing crushed rock used to build homes, schools and roads in Winston-Salem and the surrounding area. By 1960, Pioneer Quarries had sold it to a division of Vulcan Materials Company.

Vulcan eventually closed it in favor of larger quarries. It last produced crushed stone in the early 1970s, but material was sold from stockpiles there as late as 1982. After the late 1980s, the pit became filled with water and is now host to a variety of freshwater sea life. The low budget MGM thriller “Lesser Evil” was filmed there in 1997, and the quarry has been used by local student filmmakers as well.

Vulcan donated the property containing 165 acres to the city in 1998. The family of former City Council member Molly Leight donated land that was used for the Waughtown Connector, a greenway that runs from Marble Street, near Waughtown Street, to the park.

The park can also be accessed by the Salem Greenway via Peachtree Street. Drivers can take Reynolds Park Road and turn unto Quarry Road, next to the Anderson Recreation Center, to get to the park.

The park has several picnic tables, large grassy areas, restrooms and several scenic overlooks. Vulcan will be working to add some displays on Earth science to the park. There is no public access to the quarry waters, so it can’t be used for swimming, fishing or boating. 

Taylor said the park is just the beginning of the economic development that the Southeast Ward will see as the Salem Creek Connector will be finished soon, providing greater access to the area.

“You’re looking at the infusion of millions of dollars into the southeastern portion of the community,” said Taylor.

Members of the City Council, Vulcan and Recreation and Parks cut the ribbon on the park, as did former state lawmaker and Alderman Larry Womble. Womble, who lives nearby, said he’d first advocated for the quarry to be developed 30 years ago.

“I hope people will use it because it’s for the citizens,” said Womble, who also remarked that he was looking forward to seeing further development in the area.

Mayor Allen Joines said Quarry Park was a “key project” in the 2014 bonds.

“You’re basically looking at $5 million dollars here to create this park and the Waughtown Connector that comes into this particular facility,” he said.

Joines said he expects most bond projects will be completed by next year. There’s still $600 million in identified capital needs in the city that haven’t been addressed. On Monday, the City Council will vote on forming a citizen committee to examine those needs and choose which ones will be included in a tentative bond package, that may be on the ballot next year.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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