Planning Underway for Paddy's Creek Area Visitor Center
Design for a 6,500 square-foot visitor center is well underway, thanks to North Carolina voters, who overwhelmingly supported the Connect NC bond referendum last November. Aimed at infusing $2 billion into upgrading education in science and math, the state university system, zoo and parks, the bond allotment for Lake James State Park is $3 million to construct a visitor center that reflects the beauty and diversity of the area. Completion of the project – expected sometime during 2019 – will fulfill a critical component of the park’s Master Plan. The building site will boast commanding views of the lake and the Linville Gorge, along with convenient access to the planned pedestrian bridge across Mills Creek and yet-to-be-completed Fonta Flora Trail. Once inside, visitors will be able to enhance their park experience through an exhibit hall, retail area, classrooms and public restrooms. The building will also house staff offices and storage area.
“It’s very exciting to have reached the point where ideas are turned into draft designs,” said Park Superintendent Nora Coffey. “We’re taking input from a wide range of sources, including the Friends of Lake James State Park and public comments that were collected back in 2006 when the Master Plan was developed. The design phase will run through the end of the year and construction is planned to start sometime in early 2018.”
Once completed, the new visitor center will be just another reason Lake James State Park continues to be one of the premier outdoor destinations in the mountain region.