The City of Marion provides a number of park and recreational facilities for City and County residents, ranging from a large downtown park to mini-parks in residential communities to greenways. Parks and recreation has been a major priority of the Mayor and City Council for many years, as part of the City’s efforts to provide more open space and improve the quality of life in Marion. The City designates funding each year for the development and enhancement of park and recreation facilities in the community.
The City’s Parks and Recreation Department provides for maintenance and operation of all City park and recreation facilities. The Parks and Recreation Department has no employees and all maintenance work is performed by Public Works Department personnel. The City of Marion does not provide recreational programming. Such programs are provided by McDowell County and the Maxwell M. Corpening, Jr. Memorial YMCA for City and County residents. For more information about recreation programs, please contact the McDowell County Parks and Recreation Department at (828)652-3001 or the Corpening YMCA at (828)659-9622.
For more information about City parks and recreational opportunities, please contact City Hall at (828)652-3551 or the Public Works Department at (828)652-4224. A list of rules pertaining to each facility is posted at each park location.
This Community Building Park is located off of Main and Logan Streets in downtown Marion on 2.5 acres. Though smaller in size than a typical community park, the area is full of facilities to serve every age group and activity level. It has basketball and tennis courts, picnic shelters and tables, a large playground and a splash pad. Restrooms and parking are available. The park is very well used and was renovated in 2001. Various civic groups and individuals helped raised funds for new equipment making this park a jewel in the community. The park is open seven days a week on a first come first served basis.
This neighborhood park was constructed in 2001 on 2.2 acres. Addie’s Chapel United Methodist Church donated the land on Ridley Street in West Marion. The park contains a walking trail, a picnic shelter and tables, a basketball court and playground equipment. The park is available for use during daylight hours.
This neighborhood park was completed in 2003 on 3 acres. It is located on Granby Street in the Cross Mill neighborhood. The park contains a walking trail, picnic shelter and tables, a basketball court, a volleyball court, a disc golf course and playground equipment. The park is open during daylight hours.
This neighborhood park was completed in 2010. The park is located adjacent to the Eastfield Elementary School on Perry Street and is 2 acres in size. The park includes a walking trail, basketball court, picnic shelter and tables, swing set, and jungle gym. The park is open during daylight hours.
This neighborhood park was constructed in 2012 on 10 acres of property donated by Frank and Debra Boldon. The park is located on Hill Street in the Clinchfield negihborhood. The park contains a walking trail, a picnic shelter and tables, a basketball court and playground equipment. The park is available for use during daylight hours. A future phase will involve construction of a trail from the Park to Virginia Road to link both sides of the former Clinchfield Mill Village.
The City built and maintains two pocket parks with gazebos as an amenity to those visiting and enjoying the downtown area. One is located in the heart of downtown on North Main Street and the other is on the southern edge of Main Street. They are often used as social gathering areas and by walkers as a place to stop and rest. These areas also play a pivotal role during Marion’s many street festivals and evening concerts. The North Main Street Gazebo Park also contains a downtown informational kiosk and map.
The Depot, a highlight of Marion, is a favorite site for social gatherings and events. The Depot is a special facility that is centrally located on Depot Street one block from Main Street on 1.05 acres. The site includes Marion’s historic train depot, which was fully renovated in 2004 as well as an award winning courtyard. This facility is frequently used for live music, festivals and other social gatherings sponsored by the City of Marion. When not in use by the City it serves as a popular location for family and civic events.
In 2010, the City of Marion opened Phase I of the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway on the northern edge of the City along the Catawba River. The first leg of development includes a 1 mile corridor extending from US Highway 70 West off of Sam Philips Drive just west of Lowe's toward US Highway 221 Bypass behind the Wal-Mart Shopping Center. It includes a wildlife observation platform, fishing pier, and picnic area to enjoy. This area is well-suited for greenway development given the close proximity to the Catawba River and the surrounding commercial area. McDowell High School is conveniently located just across Highway 70 from the Greenway, which provides additional opportunities for recreation and alternative modes of transportation to and from school. In 2014, the McDowell Trails Association completed the paving of the 0.5 mile Little Round Hill Loop Trail located off of Phase I of the Greenway. Phase II of the Greenway was completed in March 2015 and extends an additional 0.7 miles to the McDowell House on US Highway 70 West and beyond. Phase II will include a paved greenway trail, paved driveway and parking lot at the McDowell House property, an amphitheater, fitness stations and a canoe launch off of US Highway 221 North Business. If you start on one end of the Greenway, walk to the other end, walk once around the Round Hill Loop and come back to the beginning, you will have walked approximately 3.2 miles and have completed a 5K. Click here to download a fitness activity log to use on the fitness trail.
In 2016, the City of Marion opened the Mount Ida Wilderness Area. The 36-acre park features a picnic shelter with picturesque views of Short Off Mountain and a one-mile roundtrip hiking trail.
The hiking trail is considered moderate to strenuous with a moderate grade that wraps around to the top of the mountain. The trail terminates at the top of Mount Ida and overlooks downtown Marion.
The park is located off of Rutherford Road just north of Ideal Rentals and Jalapeno Grill. It is open to the public from sunrise to sunset, except during periods of inclement weather.
In 2010, the City of Marion acquired from Norfolk Southern Railway 33 acres of the old Peavine Rail Line right of way from State Street to Jacktown Road, a distance of about 2.4 miles. The trail extends for 1.5 miles from State Street to just south of the First Christian Church property on Rutherford Road. Barricades have been installed at both ends of a dilapidated trestle behind Mi Pueblito Restaurant on Rutherford Road, until such time as the trestle can be demolished or repaired, which will evenatually allow the trail length to extend to the full 2.4 mile length. Parking is available for the trail at the old Rescue Squad building on State Street and at First Christian Church on Rutherford Road (except on Sundays between 9:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.).
The McDowell County Recreation Center and Skate Park is located on the corner of West Court Street and Academy Street and includes a skate park, basketball court, tennis courts, playground, swimming pool and ballfields. The skate park was built by the City of Marion in 2005. The County Recreation Park is open year-round and is the central location of the County’s Parks and Recreation Department. For more information about McDowell County Parks and Recreation facilities and programs contact (828) 652-3001.
The Maple Leaf Ballfields are located off of Finley Road in Marion and were acquired by the County several years ago from a private developer. With four baseball/softball fields located on the site, the park offers valuable opportunities for league sports and other group related activity.
The McDowell County Senior Center is a multi-purpose center where persons sixty years of age and older come together for a variety of activities, programs and services. The Senior Center is located off of Spaulding Road in Marion. Some of the Senior Center programs include Lunch with Friends, Senior Games, Health Promotion, and arts and crafts. For more information visit http://www.mcdowellseniorcenter.org/ or call (828)652-8953.
The YMCA is a non-profit organization offering programs and activities for all ages. The Corpening Memorial YMCA was established in 2003, and it is located just off West Henderson Street at 348 Grace Corpening Drive in Marion next to the McDowell County Senior Center. To learn more visit YMCA of Western North Carolina www.ymcawnc.org or call (828)659-9622.
The McDowell Arts Council Association (MACA) is a non-profit organization established in 1972 to promote local artists and provide cultural enrichment in the community. MACA is located at 50 S. Main Street in downtown Marion and provides art and music classes, teaching opportunities, book reading and lectures, theater and more. For more information visit their website at www.mcdowellarts.org or call (828)652-8610.