The Wake County Board of Commissioners today voted to use $4.4 million of 2018 Parks, Greenways, Recreation and Open Space bond money to fund two greenway and open space projects.
The six-year, $120 million bond was approved by 68% of voters in November 2018. Funds will be used on open space preservation, greenways, new park and nature preserve construction, and existing park renovations.
“Our greenways and open spaces play a huge role in the outstanding quality of life that Wake County residents enjoy,” said Commissioner Sig Hutchinson. “They help protect our water quality, support public health and encourage economic development. This board is committed to preserving open space and expanding access to parks, preserves, recreation resources and greenways for all residents.”
Crabtree Creek West Greenway
One goal of the 2018 Parks, Greenways, Recreation and Open Space bond is to continue assisting local municipalities with building out our county-wide greenway system. Of the total $120 million in bond money, about $20 million is reserved for these greenway partnerships.
In 2019, staff put forward a greenway Request for Proposals, which resulted in five municipalities asking for assistance with eight projects. Raleigh’s Crabtree Creek Greenway extension is the first project that will be funded.
Commissioners today agreed to spend $2.8 million on the project, which will connect the existing Crabtree Creek Greenway to Umstead State Park. The 12-foot wide asphalt path will be approximately 1.8 miles long and cost a total of $8.6 million.
Construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed by August 2023.
The Perry Property
Another goal of the 2018 bond is to continue efforts to preserve open space. Like the greenway RFP, staff asked to hear from landowners who were interested in preserving their property. The approximately 150-acre farm owned by Mack and Giles Perry on Cedar Fork Creek is the first project to receive funding out of the 40 being considered.
The northeast Wake County property, which is a mix of woods and agricultural farmland, is located on a tributary to the Little River and would protect water quality in this future water supply watershed. It is also upstream of the Mitchell Mill State Natural Area, a 105-acre tract that protects granitic flatrock outcrops and a fragile and rare ecosystem.
Commissioners agreed to purchase the property for about $2 million. Of that total cost, $1.6 million will come from bond money, with the remaining $400,000 being appropriated from the N.C. Department of Transportation 540 settlement, which puts in place protections for clean air, clean water and endangered aquatic species.
Additional Bond Update
Due to the COVID-19-related economic downturn, future Parks, Recreation, Greenways and Open Space bond sales were delayed by one year. To adjust for this timeline and leverage the NCDOT 540 settlement, the county has pulled forward open space and greenway projects in the plan and delayed new park and park renovation projections.
The design and construction of Beech Bluff County Park, design and construction of Sandy Pines Preserve and master plan for Kellam Wyatt Farm will continue on the original schedule, but other park projects will have a delayed start.
This reallocation will allow the county to focus on open space acquisition and greenway projects until the next bond sale, which will focus on funding future park development.