Mecklenburg County's only beach opens

- Many took a swim at Mecklenburg County’s first public beach which opened Saturday in Cornelius.

“I think this is the perfect place to come, relax,” Niray Patil.

The glimmering water made for a great way to cool off from the simmering sun.

“It’s real, real good,” said Hector Aguilar, who brought his kids.  “We have a lot of fun.”

Hundreds packed the beach at Ramsey Creek Park along Lake Norman during Memorial Day weekend.  In 2008, Mecklenburg County voters approved more than $425,000 in bonds to make the beach possible and construction started in 2015.

“It’s beautiful,” said Veronica Guzman.  “I can’t believe it’s man-made.”

Many folks came in from out of town, including as far as Raleigh.

“It’s a long way to Myrtle Beach.  I was so excited to learn that there was a beach coming!” said Joyce Dodd.

While there certainly was a lot of traffic on the sand, nearby neighbors are worried about the traffic on the streets.

 “There’s just not the infrastructure to support the kind of traffic that this is bringing up here, said Heather Watkins, who lives right up the road.  While she’s all for fun in the sun, she’s very concerned about safety in the streets.

“I’m afraid that there’s going to be people driving up and down our roads, for the safety of our kids…”

Watkins isn’t the only one concerned.  There’s a Facebook group of more than 230 members called “Ramsey Creek Beach Ridiculousness."  The beach has 130 parking spaces and is said to hold up to 500 people, but nearby residents say it appears that limit is not being enforced and any number of patrons can just walk in.

“You can have another thousand people walk in from half a mile away so I absolutely think there has to be some kind of a limit," said Watkins.

All those pedestrians, she says, are then crossing busy intersections that have no stoplights.

“We are risking people’s lives every time we take a left or take a right and we can’t get out onto the main streets to do anything on the weekend and it’s scary and it’s aggravating," Watkins said.  She would at least like to see a stoplight put in at Cawtawba Avenue and Nantz Road and limit the beach's capacity.

For those interested in going, the beach is free to enter but costs $3 for county residents to park and $5 for non-county residents to park.  There's also a $52 season parking pass for residents and $77 for non-residents.

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