Parks & Recreation FAQs

Where is the closest park to me?
An online search (such as Google, etc.) will be your friend here. Their maps will let you know which one of our  parks is closest to your home. You can also find our list of parks with maps here.
How many parks are there in Cornelius?
There are 13 parks in Cornelius that are owned and operated by the Town: Bailey Road Park, Cain Park, Glen Oak Green Park, James Hoyt Wilhelm Park, Jetton Road Neighborhood Park, JV Washam Elementary School football field, Legion Park, Robbins Park, Smithville Park, Torrence Chapel Park, Walter Henderson Parks, Westmoreland Athletic Complex, and Yacht Club Playground. There are also three park facilities in Cornelius that are owned and operated by Mecklenburg County.
Which parks are run by Mecklenburg County?
  • Any park in Cornelius that has Lake Norman frontage is operated by Mecklenburg County. These include Jetton Park, Ramsey Creek Park (including the Swim Beach), and Blythe Landing.
  • The contact for these county parks is Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation:
    • General park inquiries or concerns: 311 from within the county or 704-336-7600 from outside the county. Hours: Monday through Friday, 7am - 7pm
    • Reservation inquiries: Visit or call 980- 314-1000
How do I reach out if I have questions or concerns about a park or facility?
  • For issues during our regular business hours, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, you can call the Cornelius Parks & Recreation office at 704-892-6031 x160. We will do everything we can to either address your issue or direct you to the correct person, department, or agency that can.
  • For non-emergency issues after hours, you can email and we will get back to you when we return to the office.
  • For emergency issues at ANY TIME call 911
  • Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation maintains our greenways. For greenway issues, they can be reached by calling 311 or 704-336-7600.
How do I find out what each of the parks has to offer?
Our parks and their features are listed here. Amenities vary, but each offers something for everyone. Here are just some of the features you may find at our parks:
  • Playgrounds
  • Greenways and trails
  • Picnic shelters
  • Baseball/softball fields
  • Natural and artificial turf multi-purpose fields
  • Tennis/pickleball courts
  • Basketball courts
  • Disc golf courses
  • Splash pad
Are Cornelius parks and facilities ADA-compliant?
Yes! All our parks, greenways, and restrooms are accessible. The playgrounds at Bailey Road Park and Smithville Park include ADA swings.
Are Cornelius parks and facilities open to visitors from other towns/cities/states?
Yes! All our beautiful parks and greenways are open to the public, and we are happy to share them.
How do I get a map of the parks and greenways in my area?
A map of our parks and greenways can be found here. You can also visit our office on the 2nd floor of Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Avenue, to pick up any available maps. The greenway maps will also indicate designated parking access, restrooms, and water fountains.
What is the Emerald Necklace?
The Emerald Necklace is the Town’s vision of an interconnected, 13-plus-mile loop greenway system encircling much of Cornelius. The loop connects people from where they live to parks, shops, schools, businesses, and other points of interest throughout the community. It also connects Cornelius with greenways in the nearby towns of Davidson and Huntersville. Currently the Emerald Necklace is three quarters complete, with the remaining sections anticipated to be done in the near future. Read more here.
Can I drive my golf cart, dirt bike, moped, or other power vehicle on the park trails or greenways?
  • Golf carts, dirt bikes, mopeds, and other power vehicles are NOT allowed in parks, including on trails or greenways.
  • Class 1 and 2 electric bikes (E-bikes) are welcomed. Any other class of electric bike (E-bike) is prohibited.
Does Cornelius have any recreation centers?
  • CPRD does not have any standalone recreation centers; however, through a joint use agreement with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, we utilize certain spaces within JV Washam Elementary School and Bailey Middle School as recreation centers when classes or school programs are not being held. Under the names JV Washam Recreation Center and Bailey Road Recreation Center, we hold CPRD and partner programs in spaces such as gyms, cafeterias, fields, and certain classrooms, and can also rent these areas to private users.
  • Mecklenburg County owns and operates the Northern Regional Recreation and Senior Center located in Cornelius.
Can CPRD areas/facilities be used anytime, 24/7, since they are public areas?
  • CRPD parks are open from dawn to dusk unless we are hosting a special event. There are exceptions:
    • Lighted athletic field rentals and lighted tennis court rentals are open as late as 11 p.m.
    • At Bailey Road Park during the CMS school year, the parking lots closest to the tennis courts and ballfields do not open until 8 a.m.
    • If facilities have been reserved, they are not available to the public during those times. Learn more here.
  • Our two recreation centers, Bailey Road Recreation Center at Bailey Middle School and JV Washam Recreation Center at JV Washam Elementary School, offer recreation programming at various hours through the week during non-school hours only.
  • The track and field between Bailey Middle School and Bailey Road Park cannot be used during school hours.
Are fields lighted in the evenings? What about the track at Bailey Road Park?
  • Field and track lights are only turned on when an individual or group has paid to rent the facility and has added lights to their reservation, or when CPRD is running programs or events on the fields.
  • During Eastern Standard Time, usually between early November and early March, we offer Open Track Nights, when we turn on the lights on certain evenings at the Bailey Road Park track and the James Hoyt Wilhelm Park walking path. 
Do I have to reserve a field, court, or shelter or can I just use them?
  • Fields, courts, and shelters are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, unless they have been reserved or have been closed by CPRD for maintenance, events, or other reasons.
  • Due to high demand for our facilities, we strongly recommend renting a facility if you need a guaranteed date and time.
I pay taxes, why do I have to pay to rent facilities?
Rental fees help defray operational costs of maintaining the Town’s park facilities. While a fee is charged, Cornelius residents receive a 50% discount off the non-resident rate.
Is there a list of all rentable CPRD areas/facilities, including pricing and how to rent a facility?
Yes, there is a list of rentable facilities, their fees, and the appropriate rental forms here. To inquire about date/time availability, call 704-892-6031 or email Once availability is confirmed, complete the necessary forms and return to the CPRD office. We can then accept your payment.
What are CRPD’s most popular playgrounds?
It’s a toss-up! We have two very popular playgrounds with the farm-themed playground at Bailey Road Park and the tree playground at Robbins Park. During the summer months, Smithville Park is a family favorite with its maritime-themed playground and Lake Norman Kiwanis Splashville splash pad. We have several traditional playgrounds that families enjoy, also.
Does CPRD have disc golf courses?
Yes, Cornelius has two disc golf courses: a beginner course at Bailey Road Park and an intermediate/advanced course at Robbins Park. Both courses were designed by our partner, Charlotte Disc Golf Club (CDGC) The courses are maintained by CDGC and our outstanding park maintenance staff.
Does CPRD have tennis or pickleball courts?
Yes, there are three tennis courts at Bailey Road Park, two at Robbins Park, and two at Torrence Chapel Park. The courts at Robbins and Torrence Chapel all have pickleball lines applied in addition to tennis lines.
How do I find out if a field is closed or an activity has been cancelled due to weather?
  • Call our weather hotline number at 704-896-2460 ext. 2.
    • Field conditions and facility closings will be updated on the Weather Hotline by 4 p.m., Monday - Friday, except for holidays.
    • Weekend and holiday field conditions and facility closings will be updated by 8 a.m.
  • Special events and certain other activity cancellations or updates may also be shared on CPRD’s Facebook page and Instagram account.
Can I fly my aeromodeller or drone in the park?
No, neither aeromodellers nor drones are permitted in our parks. The closest aeromodeller field is the David B. Waymer Aeromodeller Flying Field at 15401 Holbrooks Rd, in Huntersville.
Are there any areas that allow overnight camping?
Overnight camping or any other form of camping is not allowed at any Town of Cornelius parks unless scheduled as a CPRD special event. However, Lake Norman State Park in Troutman is nearby and has public campsites.
Can I fish in any parks?
  • There are two stocked ponds at Robbins Park, 17738 West Catawba Avenue (catch & release only). The northern pond fishing pier is connected to a nearly 600’ boardwalk. The pond is stocked annually with channel catfish. The southern pond fishing pier is in a serene woodland setting and stocked with bluegill, redear sunfish, largemouth bass and/or channel catfish. Both ponds have also been stocked with triploid grass carp to help control vegetation. Both piers are handicap accessible and NC fishing license requirements apply. Visit for these rules and to register.
  • For those who want to fish but lack the equipment, CPRD offers a free Tackle Loaner Program with rods and tackle boxes. 
Is there anywhere to hunt in Cornelius?
No hunting of any kind is permitted within the town limits of Cornelius.
What are the rules related to bringing pets to CPRD facilities?
  • Pets MUST be on a leash at all times. Per Town ordinance, fixed leashes cannot be longer than 10’ and retractable leashes cannot be longer than 26’. Electronic collars are NOT an acceptable substitute for a physical leash.
  • Owners must clean up after their pets.
  • Pets are not permitted on athletic fields or courts under any circumstances except for the CPRD All American Dog Show, Santa Paws in the Park, or other CPRD pet-specific events.
Is there a dog park in Cornelius?
Yes, there is a dog park located at Ramsey Creek Park, which is operated by Mecklenburg County.
What is the best way to receive notice of upcoming events, programs, or camps?
The best sources of information for keeping in the loop on all things CPRD are our monthly e-newsletter and our social media platforms.
What events does CPRD put on for our community?
CPRD offers several events each year including, but not limited to, Black History Month Celebration, Hop Into Spring, Earth Jam, Cornelius Jazz Festival, Outdoor Cinema Series, Symphony in the Park, Cornelius Festival of Cultures, Veterans Day, Laketoberfest, and Light Up Cornelius. For more information on these and other CPRD events, our e-newsletter is a great resource, or visit our Special Event webpages.
Are there restrictions on what I can bring to an event?
  • Coolers and picnic baskets are allowed at CPRD events.  
  • NO pets*, glass bottles or containers, tobacco products, smoking, e-cigs, tents, or open flames allowed. *Note that pets are only allowed at our dog-centered events: All American Dog Show and Santa Paws in the Park. 
Are there parking shuttles at major special events?
  • CPRD provides parking shuttles for major events to transport patrons to Bailey Road Park from Bailey Middle School and Hough High School for Symphony in the Park and Laketoberfest.
  • Additionally, we offer shuttle service from Cornelius Elementary School to Smithville Park for the Cornelius Jazz Festival.
  • In all cases, at least one shuttle bus per event is ADA-compliant.
What sports does CPRD offer?
How do I register for a Parks & Recreation program?
We offer online registration for most of our programming. We encourage to visit our webpage for the program in which you are interested before proceeding to the registration site, because we often post more details on the program's webpage than we have room for on the registration site. However, if you would like to go directly to the registration site, use this link.
Does CPRD offer pickleball?
CPRD offers indoor pickleball at JV Washam Recreation Center for seniors 50+ one day a week. We also partner with Lake Norman Pickleball Assn (LKNPA). LKNPA provides instruction through their organization and open play during the week at Robbins Park and Torrence Chapel Park, where we have added pickleball lines to the tennis courts. Visit our webpage for days and times for open play.
Is there any water-based programming offered at CPRD?
Yes, during the late spring through early fall we offer monthly classes such as Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP), SUP Yoga, and Flat-Water Kayaking through Lake Norman Community Sailing. Information can be found here.
Do Cornelius residents get priority registration and/or discounted rates for programs/events/facilities?
  • Cornelius residents get the benefit of a resident discount when renting a facility and registering for a program. For our more popular programs, such as NFL Youth Flag Football, Youth Winter Basketball, and Camp Cornelius summer camps, Cornelius residents get a priority registration period as well.
  • While most of our events are free and open to the public, we do have some events such as Hooked on Cornelius and Halloween Treat Trail that require pre-registration due to limited spaces available; in these cases, we offer priority registration for Cornelius residents.
Are there any times that the gym is open for public use at no charge?
  • For most of the year, we offer open gym basketball for ages 18 and up on Tuesday nights at Bailey Road Recreation Center and open gym pickleball for ages 50 and up on Wednesday nights at JV Washam Recreation Center.
  • During our youth winter basketball season, usually November through February, open gym basketball goes on hiatus and open gym pickleball moves to Sunday afternoons, 1-3 p.m., at JV Washam Recreation Center.
Where is the CPRD office located and what are its hours?
The CPRD office is located on the second floor of Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Avenue. We are open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., except for holidays.
How do I contact the CPRD office?
  • Our main office phone number is 704-892-6031 x160.
  • Our general email address is
How many CPRD employees are there? Are you hiring?
  • There are 15 full-time employees and 24-40 regular/seasonal part-time employees depending on the season.
  • Job openings are posted here.
Does CPRD have an advisory board?
  • Yes, the Cornelius Parks & Recreation Commission (PRC). The committee consists of nine commissioners who are appointed by the Town Board. Eight of the commissioners are Cornelius residents, one serves as a representative of Visit Lake Norman, and all serve rotating three-year terms.
  • View the directory listing all Town-appointed Commissioners.
  • PRC meetings are typically held at Town Hall on the first Thursday of each month, starting at 5:30 p.m., and are open to the public.
Is there a way to volunteer my services or time to CPRD?
We often have volunteer, Eagle Scout, and Gold Award opportunities in our parks. If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities, call our office at 704-892-6031 x160, or email us at
Does CPRD accept donations?
Yes, we accept donations for specific park improvements and our scholarship programs. If you are interested in learning more about donations, call our office at 704-892-6031 x160, or email us at
Do you have a Memorial or Commemorative Program?
  • You can purchase a new bench, a plaque for an existing bench, and/or a tree. These can be installed at any of our parks, subject to Director approval.
  • Visit our Commemorative Donation webpage, call 704-892-6031 x 160, or email for more information.
  • Please note: For installations at Jetton Park, Ramsey Creek Park, or Blythe Landing, you will have to contact Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.