Discover the Exciting Transformation of Smith Community Park!

January 19, 2024

We are thrilled to share some exciting news about the upcoming transformation of our beloved park located at 2401 Fairview Street within the Cone Mills Community in East Greensboro.

A Jewel on 5.4 Acres:

Nestled on approximately 5.4 acres, Smith Community Park is set to undergo a remarkable facelift, with a variety of amenities to cater to the diverse needs and interests of our community. The park boasts a 17,000 square foot active adult center, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, bocce ball courts, a playground, community garden, open space, and multiple parking lots. Smith Community Park was also the City’s first outdoor specific pickleball complex. The park is conveniently bordered by roadways on three sides, with the former Cone Mills White Oak Plant standing tall across Fairview Street.

Heart of the Park: Smith Senior Center:

The centerpiece of the park is the Smith Active Adult Center, spanning a mission to provide year-round programs, activities, and services that meet the physical, social, mental, and cultural needs of older adults in Greensboro and Guilford County. The Smith Active Adult Center features a lounge, activity rooms, fitness center, indoor pool, and outdoor bocce courts and horseshoe pits. The center is designated as a Center of Excellence by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which signifies a recognition of outstanding performance and commitment to excellence in healthcare or related services. This prestigious designation acknowledges an organization’s exemplary contributions to promoting and maintaining high standards, innovation, and positive outcomes within the realm of health and human services in the state of North Carolina. Smith Active Adult Center is open Monday through Friday, with limited hours on Saturdays, and serves approximately 7,000 users each month, up from approximately 5,000 just a few years ago. Smith Active Adult Center has the highest attendance rate of all twelve community recreation centers.

A man using exercise equipment
Smith Community Center fitness room

Evolution of the Smith Center:

Originally known as the Fairview Recreation Center, the facility was renamed the Mabel D. Smith Center at Fairview in 1982 in honor of the esteemed City of Greensboro employee and community leader, Mabel D. Smith. Over the years, the site has evolved and added amenities to better serve the community.

Community Input Shapes the Future:

Recognizing the need for improvements and expansion, the City of Greensboro conducted community input sessions in 2018. These sessions aimed to gauge community interest in proposed amenities, such as permanent cornhole, horseshoe pits, picnic shelters, walking trails, and the conversion of tennis courts to pickleball courts.

A Vision Takes Shape:

Based on the valuable input from the community, the design firm Westcott, Small & Associates crafted a preliminary master plan. This plan includes a range of exciting additions such as permanent cornhole and horseshoe pits, picnic shelters with restrooms, paved walking trails, outdoor fitness equipment, and the conversion of tennis courts to pickleball courts.

The master plan also addresses crucial aspects such as ADA access, removal of dead/damaged trees, renovation of the community garden, and landscaping as required by the development ordinance. It’s a comprehensive vision that aims to enhance the accessibility, sustainability, and overall user experience of Smith Community Park. Greensboro City Council approved the master plan for the facility in 2019.

Two men playing horseshoes
Horseshoes is a favorite pastime at Smith Community Park

Supporting Health and Well-being:

These enhancements aren’t just about aesthetics; they’re designed to promote health and well-being for the entire community. The exterior elements will provide multi-generational use and interaction, relieving pressure from the interior spaces at Smith Active Adult Center and allowing for the evolution and expansion of programming to reach a greater number of older adults.

Funding the Vision:

Realizing this ambitious plan comes with a price tag of approximately $1.1M, factoring in inflation and design fees. The improvements are part of the City’s Capital Improvement program but will require additional funding such as bonds, grant, and private philanthropy, to bring this vision to life.

Greensboro Parks Foundation is excited to partner with Greensboro Parks and Recreation in support of the transformation of Smith Community Park. As we embark on this exciting journey, we invite you to stay tuned for updates, engage in the process, and look forward to the enhanced Smith Community Park that will be a source of pride and joy for our community. Together, let’s build a space that fosters connection, well-being, and enjoyment for all. To learn more about how you can support enhancements to Smith Community Park visit our project page or contact Donor Relations Manager Paula Barger.

By Paula Barger, Executive Director, Greensboro Parks Foundation