Leland breaks ground on $8M in park upgrades, new amphitheater

Oct 20, 2023 • 3 min. read | By Emma Dill

A rendering shows plans for upgrades to Leland's Founders Park. The renovations broke ground on Friday. (Image courtesy of Leland)


Leland officials broke ground Oct. 20 on more than $8 million in renovations for the town’s flagship park.

Over the next year, Founders Park is set to see a range of upgrades, including a larger amphitheater, a new veteran’s memorial along with a splash pad and playground upgrades. The groundbreaking serves as a “monumental moment” for the town, which has been working on the upgrades since 2019, according to Mayor Brenda Bozeman.

“Breaking ground on Founders Park renovations is a great accomplishment for the Town, bringing us one step closer to a beautiful new park that will benefit Leland families and their children for generations to come,” Bozeman wrote in a news release.

Bozeman along with other town council members and staff moved the first shovels of dirt Friday during a brief groundbreaking ceremony. Work on the park is expected to last one year. The park and its adjacent parking lots will be closed to the public during construction.

One of the biggest upgrades will be building a new amphitheater, said Wyatt Richardson, Leland’s Community Enrichment Director.

A map shows the upgrades underway at Founders Park in Leland.

The new facility will replace an existing wooden platform with a raised stage complete with storage space and a green room for performers. The venue will have lawn seating with a paved dance floor in front of the stage.


Richardson said the town hopes the upgraded venue will help draw larger acts to the area and, in turn, draw more Leland residents and those from across the Cape Fear region to a wider range of events and concerts. 


Other upgrades will include a slash pad, a veterans memorial, an updated playground, a natural play area, fitness stations, walking trails and a picnic and restroom facility. Founders Park serves as a flagship facility for the town of Leland, hosting various events and programs throughout the year, including concerts, movies in the park, Trunk or Treat and Leland in Lights.


Funding for the $8 million in upgrades comes primarily from $6 million in loan proceeds. The Local Government Commission approved the debt financing for the project earlier this month.


The town will contribute nearly $1 million from its general fund toward the project. It’s also received more than $1 million in grant funding, including $489,000 from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and $250,000 from the Leland Tourism and Development Authority.