By Kay Whatley, Editor
Outsize the city limits of Zebulon, North Carolina is the area of Pilot. Located in Franklin County, one of Pilot’s untapped amenities is Pilot Lions Park. The 18.38 acre “Community Park” includes lighted ball fields, bleacher seating, batting cages, a playground, picnic shelter with one grill, restroom/concessions building, and a half-mile walking trail.
Not visible from NC Highway 39, the park is located at 38 Pilot Bypass Road, Zebulon, NC. It is a few steps from the Pilot Fire Department, which is used as a voting location, so when you park to vote or visit the FD during one of their legendary plate sales, take a look beyond their building and you might catch a glimpse of the ball fields.
During the week, visitors may find the park empty, or nearly so. According to the Franklin County park information, the Pilot Lions Park is open daily, seven days a week, 6am-11pm. Stop by and walk around, or let the children play on the playground. County residents should be encouraged to make use the this park. After all, more than $1Million was spent in its creation.
According to county records, the original park funding included a 2010 transfer of $250,000 from the General fund for the Pilot Park Project. By the end of 2011, expenditures totaled $1,012,607 in park construction costs. The park’s groundbreaking took place in June of that year (2010), with the official park opening held in 2012.
As part of the county Parks and Rec Department’s Capital Improvement Plan, a budget of $375,000 is estimated for Pilot Lions Park renovations and improvements between 2019 and 2023.
To rent the picnic shelter for an event, the fee starts at $30 for a three-hour period. Create an account on the Franklin County website to make an online reservation for the shelter. It is also possible to reserve the “small softball field” or “lighted big ball field.”
Note that, while the park is adjacent to the Pilot Lions Club, use of their indoor event facilities is only available via the Lions Club. The building is not managed by the county Parks and Recreation, which oversees Pilot Lions Park.
See a list of all Franklin County NC parks at www.franklincountync.us/services/parks/parks.