Rankin Lake has served as an important community landmark for generations. The lake, originally completed in 1922, was the City’s first primary water source. In the mid-1930s, a passive park was constructed adjacent to the reservoir. Concerns over water quality resulted in the construction of a fence around the lake and restriction of public access to the water. In 1995, the City constructed a new reservoir, reducing use restrictions on the lake and allowing water access. The development of the new Rankin Lake Park will continue to provide citizens of Gastonia with an outstanding passive park.
Benesch worked with the Parks and Recreation Department to develop a master plan and phase one construction documents for the park that would restore and enhance lake use. Phase One improvements included a 1.3-mile paved trail around the 80-acre lake, group and family picnicking, paddle boat and canoe rentals, and fishing piers.