CLYDE — A community wide picnic generally held each spring in Clyde had a new purpose this year.

Saturday marked the grand reopening of River’s Edge Park, a project that protects the town from flooding because it was specifically designed to hold water and release it slowly.

A bonus was the town’s ability to create an open space area filled with trees, several children’s play areas, picnic tables under a covered shed and outdoor education areas.

The sandy beaches will be another plus for families who aren’t able to make it to the ocean. Clyde’s beaches are even better because there is plenty of shade.

During his welcome remarks, Clyde Mayor Jim Trantham thanked the partners who helped fund the park — N.C. Division of Soil and Water Conservation, along with the Haywood County soil and conservation program, as well as Haywood Waterways Association, which was instrumental in helping access funding through the Pigeon River Fund as well as creating the outdoor education sites.

The mayor also thanked the town staff for its tireless work in helping make Clyde what it is today.

Trantham recounted how more than 100 trees, at practically no cost, were planted in the park, crediting contractor Charlie Hall, who handled the restoration work at the park after it closed in the fall of 2017.

“Charlie came up with the idea of swapping dirt for trees,” Trantham said, referencing the 110 trees that had been relocated from Jim King’s nursery and transplanted at River’s Edge Park. “It costs $350 to transplant a small tree, so that’s at least $35,000 worth of trees just because of his effort.”

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