Ask Us: Are there planned expansions at Dan Nicholas Park or park possibilities on High Rock Lake?

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 3, 2020

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to

SALISBURY — A reader has asked about the possibility of a park being put in place on High Rock Lake or land being purchased to connect Dan Nicholas Park to the lake.

Don Bringle, Parks and Recreation director for Rowan County, said those sorts of ideas have been looked at as a possibility for years, decades even. As far as a recreation area or public lake access on High Rock Lake, that might be a possibility at one point, said County Commissioner Jim Greene, who serves as liaison to the Parks Board.

Previously, he lake and its dam had been owned by Alcoa Corp, which oversaw hydroelectric stations, dams and reservoirs along the Yadkin River as part of the Yadkin Project for almost 100 years. That includes High Rock Dam.

“My understanding is that part of their contract they got with the state would donate some land on High Rock Lake for recreational activities of Rowan County” Greene said.

However, ownership has changed hands multiple times since then.

Alcoa Corp. sold hydroelectric power plants, including High Rock Lake, to Cube Hydro of the Carolinas in 2017. The company was an affiliate of a Maryland-based firm named Cube Hydro Partners LLC. At that point, city officials did have some “initial talks” about the possibility of a recreation area, Greene said.

In June, however, a Canadian company, Ontario Power Generation, acquired Cube Hydro of the Carolinas.

Since the dam has changed hands so many times, the creation of a recreational area or water access has not been a top priority.

“It’s been a whirlwind these past couple of years with this,” said Greene. “But I have not been involved since Cube Hydro had it and we did start some initial talks with them. … The long-range plans are that we might get some land that would call for a county recreational area down there.”

The reader also asked about the possibility of the county purchasing land between Dan Nicholas Park and High Rock Lake to connect the two. That’s been a conversation, but there’s been no final decision made.

“We have talked in the past that we would like to have acreage between Dan Nicholas Park and High Rock Lake,” Greene said.

Bringle also confirmed that conversations about such a land purchase had occurred.

The government officials involved in the process of building a park on High Rock Lake and/or expanding Dan Nicholas Park are the county commissioners, who would allocate money to Parks and Recreation, Greene said.

But Greene said he was unsure if the county would be able to fund a lane purchase connecting Dan Nicholas Park to High Rock Lake..”

Whether or not land connecting the two locations was on the market and available for purchase would be another hurdle for this project, said County Manager Aaron Church.

“At this time, it is not being pursued,” Church said.

Bringle also confirmed that there is no active pursuit either.