Welcome to Clawson-Burnley Park
Cool breezes, a quiet jog and lush scenery, and it's right off
"Isn't this exactly as it should be?" Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson said Saturday.
The new Clawson-Burnley Park is the perfect spot for a reflective stroll, a mid-morning picnic and an afternoon dog walk.
Think wetlands surrounded by a track, surrounded by apple trees, picnic tables and grass.
If you could have seen the spot a decade ago, however, it would have given off a different ambiance entirely. After all, as one of its namesakes, former Boone Mayor Velma Burnley said at the park's Saturday ribbon cutting, it used to be a residential neighborhood. A neighborhood, that is, until multiple flood-induced evacuations contributed to a FEMA buyout.
"I was reflecting this morning on the fact that it is so providential the way it all happened," Burnley said. "It has reverted to what is best ecologically."
Burnley, along with current mayor and fellow namesake Clawson, spearheaded the effort to turn the spot, which housed 30 residential structures and a 120-bed nursing home, into a functional and aesthetic community space, utilizing the very waters that caused the evacuations.
"We're thrilled to death," Clawson said.
It doubles as an educational space, with placards that educate passersby on wetlands and birds.
"We have grandchildren who live here, and they would enjoy it here," Boone resident Lois Strickland said.
She was one of dozens present at Saturday's ribbon cutting.
"I'm so glad it's a beautiful day, people coming out and not worrying about rain," her husband, Ben Strickland, said.
Rain, however, for the first time acts as a benefit to the area, and not a reason to evacuate.
Rainfall acts as a contributor to the wetland element of the park. With scenery planted by master gardeners and orchestrated by N.C. Cooperative Extension's Wendy Patoprsty, it's all coming together.
Lizard's tail, wool grass, black-eyed Susans, soft stem bulrush and cardinal flowers provide a playground for birds and dragonflies, and the perfect backdrop for a morning walk.
Clawson Burnley Park is located across from the National Guard Armory in Boone.