Planning and Progress

Read the Johnston County Parks and Recreation Master Plan published in April 2021.


Currently, the following projects are ongoing in our department:

  • County-Wide Comprehensive Trails & Greenway Master Plan
    • Johnston County will be studying all current and planned trail and greenway routes throughout the county
    • The goal is to have planned corridors where we can connect parks, schools, light commerce, and existing trail networks. 
    • The master plan is funded by a State Research & Planning (SRP) grant on behalf of NCDOT and the Upper Coastal Plains Rural Planning Organization (UCPRPO).
      • UPDATE (07/10/23) McAdams has been selected to be the consulting firm
  • Smithfield to Benson East Coast Greenway Feasibility Study
    • The final section of the East Coast Greenway will be studied. 
    • The goal of this feasibility study is to find out cost estimates, funding sources, and a preferred route and alternative routes.
    • The study is funded and administered by NCDOT's Integrated Mobility Study (IMD)
    • Partners include NCDOT, East Coast Greenway Alliance, UCPRPO, and the Towns of Smithfield, Four Oaks, and Benson.
      • UPDATE (06/20/23): McAdams has been selected to be the consulting firm
      • UPDATE (11/20/23): Survey results have been completed and preliminary routes have been defined
      • UPDATE (05/21/24): Public meetings occurred during June and landowner coordination is underway for input
  • Johnston County Regional Park Master Plan (Adopted 05/15/2023
    • 81+ acres of land.
    • Johnston County’s first County Park.
    • Partnership with Greater Cleveland Athletic Association (GCAA).
    • RFQ approved on July 19th, 2021 to seek out engineers for a temporary parking lot and irrigation water system.
      • UPDATE (10/4/21): County Commissioners approved funding for the design process RFQ of the temporary parking lot and irrigation water system
      • UPDATE (12/6/21): County Commissioners approved the master plan RFQ for the park's permanent facilities and design
    • Stewert has been selected to conduct the master plan to finish by December 2022
      • UPDATE (10/14/22)Community engagement has been completed and a draft master plan will be presented soon
      • UPDATE (05/05/23) Full master plan has been completed and a public hearing has been proposed for May 15th, 2023
      • UPDATE (06/01/23) Master Plan was adopted by County Commissioners and funding is being pursued for Phase 1
    • Funding Opportunities
      • UPDATE (05/15/23) Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant has been submitted for $500k towards Phase 1
      • UPDATE (11/01/23) PARTF funding was awarded and the contract has been submitted to begin Phase 1 components
  • A new partnership between Johnston County Public Schools and Johnston County Parks and Open Space Program
    • All school athletic facilities will be considered public parks, allowing athletic associations to rent/lease fields and facilities for athletic games.
    • Grounds will be maintained by Johnston County Parks and Open Space Program via a shared-use/payment contract with the school system.
    • The first meeting took place on August 3rd, 2021; this is the first of many public meetings involving parks & recreation, public schools, and athletic associations.
  • Neuse River Trail Clayton-Smithfield Connection Feasibility Study (Adopted 09/19/2022)
    Please view this link for more information
  • Wilson's Mills Greenway Project
    • The first project along the Clayton to Smithfield Neuse River Trail
    • The first phase is 2 miles in length
    • The project will connect a residential development and high/middle school site
    • Land acquired through a partnership with Johnston County Public Schools and department match funding from NC Land and Water Fund
    • $4.2 million has been acquired toward development through the following funding sources:
      • Carbon Reduction Program - up to $3.36 million
      • Complete the Trails - up to $592,500


For more information about upcoming projects and long-term planning, please email



Location of the main park (corner of Matthew and Polenta Road)

- Rendering from the completed master plan of the future Johnston County Regional Park 


Smithfield to Benson East Coast Greenways feasibility study - project scheudle

 - Project schedule for the Smithfield to Benson East Coast Greenway Feasibility Study


Adrian O'neal speaking at the first Johnston County parks/schools partnership meeting

- Snapshot from the first Johnston County Parks and Open Space/Johnston County Public Schools meeting; more meetings are planned following this successful partnership


Page last updated: May 21, 2024

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