LAKE NORMAN, N.C. - Ramsey Creek Beach, Mecklenburg County's only public beach, is preparing to open Saturday after weathering a flood of problems last year off Nantz Road in Lake Norman.
Worried residents are preparing for the weekend.
Some residents are trying to block the entrance to their neighborhood with traffic cones. Some have moved cones onto their driveways and yards to keep people from parking there.
"It was crazy. It was an invasion is what it felt like," Susan Longo said.
As drivers fought to find parking spots last year, mailboxes were knocked over and private yards quickly turned into spots for parking and picnics.
"People, strollers, kids in the middle of the street, and you've got cars driving up and down and you have to maneuver that. It was totally dangerous," Longo said.
While the county has been able to create only 50 new parking spaces in the small park, it has made other improvements.
There is a new stop light at the intersection of Catawba Avenue and Nantz Road. There are also more signs to keep first-time visitors off neighborhood streets.
"Everyone has fenced in their yards now, fences and gates at the driveways. It's a completely different atmosphere than it was before," Longo said.
Cornelius police are now monitoring two new cameras at the beach. Charlotte Area Transit System promises to start running shuttle buses on opening day.
Town board members said they are continuing to push the North Carolina Department of Transportation to widen Nantz Road so it can handle the bus traffic.
The beach was briefly closed in 2016 after the county discovered elevated bacteria levels.
The county has already started testing the water twice a week to make sure it's safe.
"They so underestimated the number of people who would be using the beach,” neighbor Deb Pope said. "One of my neighbors right here had someone set up a barbecue grill underneath her tree, and the whole family was there picnicking underneath the tree in her yard."
Visitors ready to dive in at Ramsey Creek Beach
May 20 to Labor Day entrance fee rates:
Vehicles Monday - Thursday
- County resident: $5 per vehicle
- Non-County resident: $10 per vehicle
Vehicles Friday - Sunday and County observed holidays
- County resident: $10 per vehicle
- Non-County resident: $15 per vehicle
- Individuals 14 years and older: $5 each
- Children 6-13 years old: $3 each
- Children under 6 years old: Free
- Season park pass County resident: $52
- Season park pass non-County resident: $77
A free shuttle will operate from Northcross Park and Ride lot in Huntersville, 17126 Northcross Dr., to Ramsey Creek Beach on weekends and holidays. The shuttle will run every 15 minutes from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Beach goers who use the shuttle will have free access to the beach.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.