SPENCER, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A park in a corner of East Spencer is in the middle of a major facelift.

Royal Giants Park is the only park in the small Rowan County town. In 2022, the North Carolina Department of Commerce awarded East Spencer a $580,000 Rural Transformation Grant to update and improve the park.

“It’s everything to the community. This is the hub,” said Town Manager Michael Douglas. “Every Sunday, there’s a cookout here at this park. There’s about 40-60 people here every Sunday.”

Though an important pillar in the community, the park has aging infrastructure bordering on unsafe.

“Our concession stand, I believe, was built in the 1970s, and it is completely outdated,” said Douglas. “We have the restrooms that are on the backside of the concession stand near the woods. As a parent, I wouldn’t want my children to go use that restroom.”

With the grant money, the town plans to update the basketball courts, the concession area, parking, and signage. The ball court revamp is already complete.

“There’s a concrete slab that is down here, and there are areas that are cracked and broken. We thought it might be more feasible to put something down that’s not going to hurt residents when they’re out here playing,” said Douglas, referencing the new basketball playing surface.

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The renovations come at a time of significant growth for East Spencer. The town has two major housing subdivisions in the pipeline, bringing nearly 180 new housing units to the area. Douglas says updating the town’s facilities to accommodate the growing population is important.

“We have to start updating; we have to start giving more amenities so that people want to come and stay,” he said.

Construction on the new concession area is set to begin in October.