FAQ: Recreation in Hillsborough
Below are frequently asked questions about recreation in Hillsborough. Click on a question to view the answer.
The Hillsborough area offers a number of recreation options. The Town of Hillsborough owns and maintains several community and neighborhood parks and greenways, including Riverwalk. It does not offer recreation programming. For a listing of recreation options around Hillsborough, see the Recreation Facilities page on the town’s website. For recreation programming, see Orange County government’s website, www.orangecountync.gov. For trails and greenways throughout Orange County, see the interactive map on the county’s website.
See the Recreation Facilities page on the town’s website for a listing of parks and greenways maintained by the town.
The Town of Hillsborough often receives questions about Exchange Club, Fairview and River parks. Exchange Club Park is owned and maintained by the Exchange Club. Contact the club at 919-732-9283 for more information. Fairview and River parks are owned and maintained by Orange County government. See the county’s website, www.orangecountync.gov, for more information.
Yes. The town maintains a dog park in Gold Park, 415 Dimmocks Mill Road. See the Recreation Facilities page on the town’s website for more information about Gold Park.
Yes. The multi-use fields at Cates Creek and Gold parks are available for reservation, and the large picnic shelter at Gold Park also can be reserved. See the Recreation Facilities page on the town’s website for information about the amenities at those parks. See the Reservations section of the town’s website to view reservation fees and to make a reservation.
All town-maintained parks and greenways are open daily from 8 a.m. until a half hour after sunset. See the Recreation Facilities page on the town’s website to access additional information for sites not maintained by the town.
Open hours may change due to inclement weather or maintenance. To stay informed about closures and reopenings of the town’s parks and trails, subscribe to news releases through the Email Subscriptions webpage, view news releases on the town’s website, or follow the town’s @HillsboroughGov social media on Facebook and Twitter.
Parks and greenways are closed at times for the safety of the community and emergency workers. Hazards can exist even after a storm with high winds or snow has passed or after floodwaters have receded. Parks and greenways will remain closed following severe weather until the town can inspect the areas and remove any hazards. Parks and greenways are not a priority for snow and ice removal. They will be closed in deteriorating wintry conditions until staff determines they are safe.
The community should heed any closure signs or barriers for parks and trails. Those who choose to use the town’s parks and greenways do so at their own risk. However, by entering closed areas and by moving or removing closure signs and barriers, you also:
- Slow cleanup efforts and delay the reopening of parks and greenways for everyone.
- Force public works and public safety staff away from other duties to reinstall closure signs and barriers.
- Force emergency workers away from other duties for potential rescues.
- Risk the safety of others.
You can stay informed about closures and reopenings of the town parks and trails by using the town’s communication methods. See the Email Subscriptions page to subscribe to news releases. The news releases also can be viewed via the town’s website and its @HillsboroughGov social media on Facebook and Twitter.
Undeveloped floodplains often serve the need for public parks and recreation. The Riverwalk greenway and Gold Park were built in their locations to take advantage of the chance to provide recreation in areas that otherwise would not be developed. Riverwalk, located partially within Gold Park, was built along a sewer easement by the Eno River. Both recreation facilities were designed to withstand flooding. Gold Park’s dog park also was built with a chain-link fence to allow floodwaters through. The fence has been damaged in past floods due to the weight of debris carried by floodwaters. The dog park fencing now is being left open when flooding is expected to allow the unimpeded flow of waters carrying debris.
These recreation facilities require cleanup after a severe weather event to remove hazards. However, the areas are open for use many more days throughout the year than they are closed for weather and maintenance.
Water is turned off at exterior drinking fountains when the first freezing temperatures of winter are forecasted. Water service then is restored in the spring when the danger of freezing temperatures has passed. This helps avoid water line breaks, which can be costly to repair and disruptive to the use of recreational areas.
Sunshades would be a costly investment with little return in sun protection for the current play equipment at Gold Park. Town staff have met multiple times with sunshade distributors regarding options for screening the park’s play area. Due to spacing regulations and the play equipment’s tall height, sunshades would need to be installed at a height that would provide little sun blockage during the day and that would make the shades a safety risk in high winds. The shades would have to be removed each time high winds are expected. Because the shades are installed with tension, removing and reinstalling them could require the hiring of contractors due to the level of difficulty.
Shade from trees is an option already started. Fast-growing shade trees have been planted around Gold Park’s perimeter, with trees planted in all the available spaces around the play area but not inside due to spacing regulations for the play equipment. The trees have begun providing some shade to the area. A tree that died following damage from climbing has been removed and likely will be replaced.
The Hillsborough Tree Board ― a volunteer-comprised advisory board of the town ― makes planting decisions for town spaces and will be looking at other opportunities to plant trees throughout the park. Plant additions typically are made between November and March, when plants have a greater chance for survival due to less heat and greater precipitation.
The other option for shade is to remove the current play equipment and to install much shorter equipment, which would lower the height at which sunshades could be installed. However, the equipment is still in good condition and replacing it would be costly.
The Hillsborough Parks and Recreation Board ― another volunteer-comprised advisory board of the town ― advises the town on recreation improvements and implements recommendations in recreation master plans. It will be developing a master plan for improvements to Gold Park, and shade will be considered. The board has limited funding for improvements and a list of priorities.
The dog park would need to be closed for several seasons to establish grass. Heavy use of the dog park could also make maintaining grass difficult. The mulch used is a shredded hardwood mulch that is safe for use by children and dogs and that helps reduce dust, dirt and the ground cover’s movement.
The Hillsborough Parks and Recreation Board advises the town on recreation improvements. To share ideas for park improvements, contact Public Space Manager Stephanie Trueblood by email or by phone at 919-296-9481. Trueblood provides staff support to the advisory board.
The public is also welcome to attend meetings of the Parks and Recreation Board. The board generally meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month in the Town Hall Annex, 105 E. Corbin St. See the town calendar on this website's homepage for updated meeting information.