Karen Cragnolin Park

The “Missing Link” on the French Broad River

Named in honor of RiverLink’s founding Executive Director, this 5.33-acre tract of land in the French Broad River Park corridor has gone through an impressive transformation from former junkyard to reclaimed, open greenspace.

The site of the future public park was home to the EDACO junkyard for over 50 years. Located adjacent to the French Broad River and bounded by Amboy Road, the car crushing operation contaminated the land and water with oil, gas, grease and antifreeze. RiverLink worked with experts to implement an extensive soil remediation process that has almost entirely restored the land back to its original, natural state. This important first step ensures that the land will be healthy and ready for the next phases of the project.

RiverLink hopes that the park will serve as a model for the way our shared spaces can be used to support connectivity and unbiased access. All elements of the planned park — from outdoor classroom, to native species pollinator garden, to creatively designed river access points — reflect RiverLink’s mission of river renewal and revitalization provided through public experiential education opportunities, water quality and stormwater management initiatives, and proper environmental stewardship.

The Park Master Plan designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, beautifully captures the cultural and environmental history of the region, while providing an exciting and attainable vision for the future of this once derelict Brownfields site. The Park also serves as the “missing link”, connecting together the 17 mile Wilma Dykeman Riverway, as conceived of in the Wilma Dykeman Riverway Plan.