County celebrates opening at Airlie Park
It’s an idea that’s been more than four decades in the making.
But this week, Airlie Business Park at Ingleside opened, and the idea that started in the 1960s was realized.
David Clark Jr. spoke during the ribbon cutting, which took place Tuesday, Aug. 23, at the park.
“Our father (David Clark Sr.) had a vision to put a business park in eastern Lincoln County as far back as the 60s,” Clark Jr. said. “He worked very hard to bring jobs to Lincoln County. He loved Lincoln County and was committed to trying to make it a better place to live.”
Clark’s father gathered land in the area for creating such a park, but plans came to a stop in 1989 when Clark Sr. was in an accident that left him paralyzed. He died in 1997.
“We’re trying to follow through on some of the things that he wanted to do, and this was one of them,” Clark Jr. said. “We’ve worked with a number of people over the years. I used the word ‘perseverance.’ This has been something that the county has wanted to do, my family has wanted to do, the Lincoln Economic Development Association has wanted to do. A lot of people have tried to make this happen and have never given up.”
About 40 people involved with the project, as well as some in the Lincoln County business community, came to celebrate the grand opening Tuesday.
The Lincoln Economic Development Association has partnered with several businesses and industries to develop the land into an industrial park, which now sits off of Optimist Club Road near the new N.C. 16-Bypass.
“It will create a good tax base,” County Commissioner George Arena said. “The area has a quick commute to Charlotte and the airport. And now our people can hopefully stay in Lincoln County and work and support their families.”
The park encompasses about 230 acres, owned by the Clark family: brothers David Jr., Allison and Walter, and their sister, Caroline Clark Morrison. It’s name – Airlie – originated in Clark’s family history. Clark Jr.’s great-grandfather owned a plantation by that name in Scotland Neck, in eastern North Carolina.
“My father cared a lot about Lincoln County,” Clark Jr. said. “He saw that someday all these things would happen. We’re all sorry that he’s not here to also share it.”