Chimney Rock Plans New Entrance
A major new project at Chimney Rock State Park is prompting change in the neighboring town of Lake Lure.
"We're going to see an increase in visitorship," said Lake Lure Community Development Director Shannon Baldwin, of the park's plan to build a new entrance in the town.
"Our economy is based on tourism and we know that," said Baldwin.
Lake Lure sits in the shadow of the popular state park, which saw a 24 percent increase in visitorship in 2012, and one of the park's long-term goals is to build a new park entrance off of Porter Road in Lake Lure.
Just the idea of a local entrance is spurring change in Lake Lure; ideas to add more parking, a new welcome center, a lively town center, bike lanes and bike trails.
"Buffalo Mountain Park - and it's going to be about six or 7 miles of mountain bike trails," said Baldwin of one of the towns plans.
These are all elements of Lake Lure's Comprehensive Transportation Plan, which is facilitated by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and has Rutherford County and the Chimney Rock State Park participating.
"[The] plans will bubble up to the state for funding," said Baldwin.
The CTP is planning for the next 30 years, determining how to make getting around town easier - especially for tourists.
"If we don't think about how to efficiently move people around, once they're here, it becomes automobile dependent, and we get traffic jams," said Baldwin.
Follow Ashlea Surles on Twitter @AshleaSurles