History defines our
past and future

Green Valley
Park History

Green Valley Community Park was born out of a desire to provide recreational and outdoor educational opportunities for the children of our community. We set out to create, within the general vicinity of Green Valley School, a multipurpose community park.

Park acquisition

In September 2000, after more than a year of searching for an ideal site, GVCP purchased 12 acres of land on Big Hill Road nestled alongside the New River, about 3.5 miles from Green Valley School. 

In partnership with the National Committee for the New River, we purchased 7 acres adjacent to the original property, using funds provided through a grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

Plans for most of that acreage involve protection of the native stream to reduce sedimentation in the river and establishment of a healthy vegetative buffer along the river and the stream.

1999

In Watauga County, North Carolina, a small group of Green Valley Community residents initiated discussions about the need for a local park, leading to a proposal at a Green Valley Elementary PTSA meeting and the organization of a community meeting to explore the idea further. Following the initial meeting on April 15, monthly gatherings were held, culminating in the election of a Board of Directors and the establishment of Green Valley Community Park, Inc., through the adoption of Articles of Incorporation, Constitution & By-Laws inspired by Valle Crucis Community Park. Efforts to achieve 501(c)(3) non-profit status began alongside the search for an appropriate Park location. The Park’s initiative received a significant boost with a $10,000 matching grant from the Watauga County Community Recreational Grants for property acquisition, with half the matching funds coming from a generous donation by former board members Cher and Jeffrey Zavik, which went towards the down payment on the Park property in 2000.

2000

Green Valley Community Park, Inc. successfully obtained its 501(c)(3) status, becoming an officially recognized tax-exempt organization. On September 22, after an 18-month search for the perfect location, the organization acquired 12 acres along the New River, a purchase totaling $229,165.00, with Brian Mueller and his wife Rhonda covering the closing costs. In November, a fundraising effort featuring a raffle and a square dance at Green Valley School brought in approximately $4,000. However, in December, when offered a $5,000 matching grant from Watauga County Community Recreational Grants to develop an athletic field, the organization had to decline. The decision was made because the grant required matching funds, and all available resources were allocated to servicing the mortgage debt on the newly acquired property.

2001

Beginning in January, the Park’s inclusion in the American Heritage River-New River Work Plan by New River Community Partners marked a pivotal moment in its development. A few months later, in April, the initiative received a modest boost with a $900 grant from the Phillip Morris Company, aimed at supporting early development efforts. The fundraising momentum picked up in May when a letter sent to all property owners within the Meat Camp Fire District—closely aligned with the Green Valley School’s district—successfully raised $17,800.

 

The highlight of the year came on June 2, with the inaugural Green Valley Community Park Celebration along the New River. This vibrant event featured musical performances, a range of children’s activities, craft and food booths, a raffle, and local authors’ book signings and readings. A unique heritage and wildlife parade, featuring costumed walkers, bikers, and a flotilla of watercraft, set the festive tone, extending from the Park to Walter and Annie Cook Park in Todd, and the celebration generated over $10,000 in net proceeds.

 

During the summer, the Park’s recreational offerings were enhanced by an Eagle Scout candidate who developed a new hiking trail. In October, the community’s spirit was once again on display at a square dance held at Green Valley School, which raised $2,435 through a raffle, with entertainment provided by a bluegrass band and refreshments from the Aid Association of Lutherans of Bethany Lutheran Church.

 

The year concluded on a high note in December when the Janirve Foundation in Asheville awarded GVCP $15,000, a significant contribution towards paying down the principal of the Park’s mortgage, ensuring the Park’s ongoing development and sustainability.

2002

In April, a second fundraising letter sent to property owners in the area successfully generated $2,000 for Green Valley Park, demonstrating ongoing community support for the park’s development. During April and May, a collaborative effort between Riverkeepers, the National Committee for the New River, and the local Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency led to the planting of 2,400 silky dogwoods along the Park’s riverbank. This environmental initiative aimed to combat erosion and enhance the natural beauty and stability of the river’s edge.

 

On June 1, the Park hosted its second Celebration at Walter and Annie Cook Park in Todd, replicating the success of the previous year with a wide range of activities and receiving outstanding media coverage. Despite a good turnout, the event’s profits were slightly lower than the year before. June 30 marked a significant milestone with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Park, attended by supporters, contributors, local media, and state and local elected representatives, symbolizing the Park’s growing recognition and development.

 

Over the summer, an Eagle Scout candidate contributed to the Park’s infrastructure by developing a walking trail that connected the parking area to the proposed picnic shelter with the lower part of the Park, enhancing accessibility and enjoyment for visitors. On September 14, the Park’s presence at the First Annual Boone Blue Grass Festival was highlighted by the conclusion of a raffle, further engaging the community and raising funds.

 

In October, the Park’s facilities saw substantial improvements, thanks to a $4,800 grant from the NC Adopt-A-Trail program. These funds were used to grade and gravel the parking area next to the planned picnic shelter, construct a canoe landing, and further develop the walking trail, marking significant progress in the Park’s aim to provide a comprehensive and enjoyable outdoor experience for all visitors.

2003

In the spring, Green Valley Park effectively utilized a $900 grant from the Boone Service League to enhance safety and functionality by constructing guardrails around the parking and picnic areas. May brought further development as GVCP secured a SETRAC grant from the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, earmarked for advertising the third annual Green Valley Park Celebration on the New River, demonstrating the community and local business’s growing support for the Park’s events.

 

June 7 witnessed the much-anticipated Celebration, coupled with another raffle drawing and a 5-K race that proved to be very successful. Despite the enthusiasm and participation, a continuous downpour throughout the day somewhat impacted the overall success of the festival. In the same month, a significant advancement occurred when the Watauga County Commissioners green-lighted the use of county resources for grading and preparing the athletic field, a step forward in enhancing the Park’s amenities.

 

By September, after securing the necessary state permits, work commenced on the athletic field’s grading. This progress marked a milestone in the Park’s development, showcasing the collaborative efforts between the Park, the local community, and county authorities to enrich the recreational landscape of the area.

2004

In May, Green Valley Park explored a collaborative effort with the Todd Community Preservation Organization and HandMade in America to seek joint grant funding for a playground. Although the idea showed promise, it was ultimately determined to be unfeasible. Between June and August, significant progress was made on the picnic shelter, starting with the meticulous setting and notching of support poles. This phase of development was notably supported by the local business community, which generously donated both materials and manpower.

During the months from July to October, efforts were focused on preparing the road adjacent to the Park for paving. This process involved dumping and spreading extra dirt within the Park’s premises, effectively creating an area suitable for a future playground near the picnic shelter and enhancing access to the athletic field. In July, the Park was awarded a $4,800 Adopt-A-Trail grant by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, designated for the purchase of benches to be installed along the Park’s hiking and walking trails.

On July 30, 2004, the Park expanded its boundaries by purchasing seven acres of adjoining property. This acquisition, made possible through a grant from the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund secured by the National Committee for the New River, significantly improved access to the playing fields, a wetland area, and the canoe ramp, enriching the Park’s natural resources and recreational offerings.

August saw the launch of the “Make Your Mark On the Park” campaign, an innovative fundraising initiative inviting families and businesses to sponsor squares of Park property. This commitment required a contribution of $10 per square, per month, for two years or an equivalent one-time donation. The campaign was a success, raising approximately $16,400 and demonstrating the community’s investment in the Park’s future.

As the year progressed into fall, construction efforts continued unabated on the picnic shelter and the main athletic field, marking another chapter in the ongoing development and enhancement of Green Valley Park.

2005

Between April and May, an Eagle Scout took on the significant project of building a footbridge, which now connects the original Park property to the land acquired in 2004, enhancing the Park’s accessibility and cohesion. During late April to June, the community came together in several work sessions to complete the picnic shelter roof. This effort was notably supported by a local resident who offered his crane and time for setting the trusses, with board members and other residents contributing their labor as well.

 

Throughout May and June, the Park saw the installation of four benches, financed by the Adopt-A-Trail grant, with plans to set up five more, further improving the Park’s infrastructure and visitor experience. In July, the gable ends of the picnic shelter were enclosed, marking another step forward in the shelter’s completion. Additionally, the Park was awarded another Adopt-a-Trail grant, this time amounting to $3,300, designated for informational trail signs and the addition of two bike racks, enhancing the functionality and user-friendliness of the Park’s trails.

 

During July and August, measures were taken to address wet-weather springs around the athletic field perimeter, involving the digging of ditches and the installation of drainage pipes to mitigate water accumulation issues. In the following months, soil amendments were applied and the field was over-seeded, efforts aimed at improving the condition and usability of the athletic field.

 

On August 27, a fundraising event at Green Valley School featured a hot dog supper, a barn dance, and the conclusion of a raffle, successfully raising $4,320, which included a generous $800 donation from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. September 16 marked the Park’s role as an exchange point for the inaugural Blue Ridge Relay Bike Race, showcasing the Park’s growing involvement in community and regional events. On October 8, the park contributed to the Green Valley School Fall Festival by serving food, raising nearly $600.

 

In November, a “Make Your Mark on the Park” display sign was constructed and installed at Green Valley School, further promoting the fundraising campaign. December saw the sending of update letters about the park’s progress to “Make Your Mark on the Park” donors and Green Valley School families, with the campaign raising an impressive total of approximately $19,600, reflecting the community’s strong support and investment in the park’s development.

2006

In January, Green Valley Park, Inc. organized a workday dedicated to trail improvement and the installation of benches, marking the beginning of a year filled with substantial progress and community engagement. March saw the Park’s banks cleared of brush in a training session for area firefighters, combining Park maintenance with valuable training for local emergency services.

 

Throughout the summer, significant milestones were achieved: the main athletic field and picnic shelter were completed, encompassing a range of tasks from pouring concrete slabs and creating French drains to grassing the perimeter and staining the gable ends. Notably, the western gable of the picnic shelter was adorned with a Park sign, and picnic tables were assembled and installed. This period also saw the Watauga County Commissioners approving an allocation of $20,000 in matching funds, a move inspired by a generous $20,000 pledge from the Ginn Corporation towards the park’s development.

 

The summer was also marked by the launch of the 2006 Challenge Campaign, an ambitious effort to raise $100,000 by January 1, 2007. This campaign aimed to match two anonymous, private pledges of $50,000 each, with the funds designated for mortgage retirement. Additionally, Green Valley Park received approval for a $50,000 grant through the Farm Service Agency, aimed at restoring the Park’s bog, further enhancing its environmental stewardship.

 

In August, the Park celebrated its achievements and community support with a Celebration event, featuring music, food, games, and a raffle. This event also included the dedication of the shelter and a significant moment when the Ginn Corporation presented a $20,000 check for further park development. October saw GVCP actively participating in the Green Valley School Fall Festival, where they served food and sold Park apparel, continuing their community engagement and fundraising efforts.

 

November featured a concert at Boone United Methodist Church (UMC) to benefit the 2006 Challenge Campaign, raising nearly $3,000. This event highlighted the community’s support and the ongoing efforts to secure the financial stability and further development of Green Valley Park.

2007 - Present

Over the years, Green Valley Park has undergone significant developments and celebrated many milestones. By the beginning of 2007, aiming to match two anonymous pledges for mortgage retirement. The year concluded with fundraising and donations totaling nearly $116,000.

 

In 2007, despite not meeting the campaign goal, the anonymous donors kindly contributed the shortfall of $26,500. That year also saw permanent power installations at the park and the first Mountain Valleyfest. Such events continued through 2011, each netting around $5,000 annually. July of 2007 marked the installation of a state-of-the-art, handicap-accessible playground, funded by excess sales tax revenue from Watauga County Commissioners, who also began providing annual county-funded allocations.

 

Spring of 2008 witnessed the construction of the foundation and floor for a stage/band shelter, and in June, the property was enhanced with diverse plantings funded by a CCAP grant. This grant covered the majority of the expenses, contributing to the year’s total income of over $75,000, and by March 10, 2009, the mortgage was paid in full. Permanent restrooms were constructed in 2009 near the picnic shelter, marking the last year of bulk-mailed fundraising letters. From May through October of 2010, paid services for restroom maintenance and park mowing began.

 

A fruitful partnership with local outfitters for canoe access started in 2010, growing to exclusive contracts with River Girl Fishing and High Mountain Expeditions since 2013, leading to the establishment of TubeFest! in 2014. Through 2019, proceeds from the last Saturday of August’s tubing were donated to the Park, complemented by food and drinks sold by the Park board and volunteers.

 

Blue Ridge Endurance LLC has provided a steady stream of income, with the Park serving as an exchange zone for the Blue Ridge Relay since 2005 and staffing a hydration station for the New River Marathon in 2011, with donations received for volunteer services.

 

The Park has also greatly benefited from TDA funding, which has supported infrastructure improvements, including well-drilling, septic systems, signage, and the paving of trails and access areas, especially in 2009, 2012, and 2019. In 2015, TDA funded a quarter of a Recreation Trails Program Grant for a new canoe landing and paved walking trail.

 

The support from renegotiated outfitter contracts, county funding, and donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations has been substantial in recent years, for which the Park expresses immense gratitude.

 

Looking forward, September 20, 2025, will mark the Park’s 25th anniversary since its first land purchase, with a celebration planned for that fall, inviting the community to join in commemorating this quarter-century milestone.

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