former tractor pull/rodeo site in newland

Pasquotank County plans to purchase the 51-acre site of the former Morgans Corner Pulling Park off U.S. Highway 158 in Newland for a new community park. The county plans to pay around $612,000 for the property.

NEWLAND — The site of a former tractor pull park in Newland is where Pasquotank County hopes to build its newest community park.

County commissioners voted Monday to approve a proposal to buy 51 acres along U.S. Highway 158 for the long-anticipated county park. The county will pay around $612,000 for the property, or around $12,000 an acre.

The property most recently was the Morgans Corner Pulling Park. County Manager Sparty Hammett wasn’t sure if the truck and tractor pull site was still in use. But according to the truck and tractor pull’s Facebook page, the facility closed in December 2017.

The sale, however, is contingent on the county receiving a N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant that will help pay for the property’s purchase. The county said it “anticipates” being awarded the grant in September and that money would go toward developing the park and building its amenities.

Commissioner Sean Lavin, who represents the Northern Outside District on the Board of Commissioners, said the county found a perfect location for the park. Besides a new community park, the site could also be used for satellite offices for Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Medical Services and the Pasquotank Sheriff’s Office, Lavin said. It possibly might also host a helicopter landing pad for an air ambulance.

“It looks like we found the best spot for future growth and accessibility,” Lavin said. “It’s a good thing.”

Pasquotank officials first identified a 29-acre tract of land at Sawyer and Crooked Run roads for the Newland community park. However, almost all of the 77 Newland residents who attended a public meeting to discuss the site in December 2019 were opposed to the location for various reasons. That sent county officials back to the drawing board.

“We bounced around to every property on the market in that area,” Lavin said. “We had presented a few options a year ago and the residents were adamant about where they wanted it (the park) and where they did not want it.”

If awarded the state grant the county would receive a dollar-for-dollar match up to $500,000. The county’s money for the park will come out of capital reserves.

“We are hopeful that we will get the grant money,” Hammett said. “I think we have a really good shot at it. We have to make sure we present the best possible project that will get that grant award.”

Hammett said the park may be developed in two phases. Park amenities will probably include a picnic pavilion and restroom facilities, a walking trail and a multi-purpose athletic field, among others.

The county plans to seek community feedback and input about the park. How that will be accomplished given the COVID pandemic is still being discussed, Hammett said.

“We will attempt to have some community meetings because some of the (grant) scoring is to have some community input,” Hammett said. “With COVID, we will have to figure out the best way to get that community input.’’