Local News

Cary Asks Raleigh To Help Fund New Aquatic Center

Posted June 2, 2004

— A $40 million project that could have a huge impact on the Triangle landed before the Raleigh City Council Tuesday.

A proposed Cary aquatic center is the only project asking for Wake County hotel tax money that would be built outside of Raleigh. The Raleigh City Council will help decide its fate, because the council will help spend some of the Wake County tax money.

Supporters of the project say there are not enough pools in Raleigh.

"We're growing and we have no where else to grow to," Raleigh swim coach Jonathan Watson said.

Raleigh has the Pullen Aquatic Center, but people there say more swim space is needed. On Saturday, the pool was open for just 45 minutes before it reached capacity and the center had to close its doors.

Supporters propose an answer with the State Capital Sports Center, which includes several indoor and outdoor pools, a diving pool, hockey rinks and a fitness facility -- all designed to attract everyone from the general public to Olympic athletes.

"We will project this facility to be the second most visited destination facility in the Triangle, second only to the RBC Center," said project leader Hill Carrow of Sports Properties Inc.

Carrow says the aquatic center will bring in 42,000 out-of-county visitors each year and will create 200 new jobs for the county.

Is all of that enough to convince Raleigh City council members to spend $15 million on a facility in Cary? Carrow gently told the council that 34 percent of the hotels, which are taxed to create the county fund, are located in Cary and Morrisville.

"Raleigh has benefitted tremendously from the funds generated in these jurisdictions and I'm sure they'd welcome your support in sending the flow back in their direction," Carrow said.

Cary has committed $15 million to the project. Private funds will cover another $10 million.

The Raleigh City Council and Wake County commissioners will decide later this summer if they want to make that $15 million investment.

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