Park Update from the President

Posted on


Construction of the new bridges is underway!

I’ve got a children’s story for you. Sometime in June, weather permitting, we expect to reopen Robert Lake Park to the young at heart, closing a year-long tale that began with flood waters from Tropical Storm Diego in May 2018. The story includes chapters that are inspiring, others confounding, and still others that are just exasperating. We have “all the king’s horses” in the roles of government representatives and engineers. There are scary parts, like a year of record rain that washes away some good progress, and cost estimates, and multiple delays. (Here’s a terrifying phrase: “You can’t start yet. It’s trout spawning season.” Yikes.) Meanwhile, patient-but-denied park lovers remind us of the urgency we already feel in our bones. There are heroes. John Quinzi, director of facilities, doggedly drives everyone to deliver the best possible outcome at the best possible price in the best possible time frame. Contractor Dan Hensley consistently exceeds expectations even though we keep raising them. Volunteers contribute time and sweat and energy, and donors contribute just over $130,000. Turns out, we need just about all of it. A stroke before midnight, approvals are granted and work begins. Bridges are raised and mounted on deeply poured, concrete footings. Walkways are rebuilt. A new retaining wall guards Assembly Drive from Flat Creek, and vice versa. New grading intends to reduce future flooding. In the end, the park is restored, stronger than ever, and we are left with a moral to our story as old as time. It takes a community to make a Robert Lake Park – and Montreat – the reality that it is. Thank you so much. May we all live happily ever after.

Richard DuBose