Local News

State Closer To Protecting Umstead State Park From Developers

Posted October 11, 2004

— The state is one step closer to protecting more than 100 acres from devlopers. The last census showed Wake County's population nearly doubled and some towns as much as tripled in size, which means new homes, new schools, new roads and new businesses are popping up all over.

One group is fighting to make sure that all of the growth does not come at the expense of green space. The state is moving to keep development away from

William B. Umstead State Park

.

Among the hustle and bustle of Raleigh-Durham International Airport and traffic going to the Brier Creek shopping center is the calmness of Umstead State Park.

"Umstead is like the Central Park of the Triangle," said Bill Holman of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

The state Parks and Recreation department wants to keep 125 acres around Umstead free from development. It is most concerned about pollution getting into the park's Big Lake.

That is why the state has asked the Clean Water Management Trust Fund for money to buy a portion of the land to use as a buffer.

"If we're not able to protect this property, then the property will probably be developed and there will be more runoff and pollution that gets into the lake."

The area upstream of Umstead Park's Big Lake could be used for offices, homes and more.

"The family that owns the property has made a generous offer to sell it to the state at a bargain and they won't wait forever," Holman said.

A committee of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund voted Sunday to give the state $2 million. That would buy 71 acres of the 125 acres the state wants.

"As the region grows, its only going to become more and more important to have an oasis like Umstead that we can all enjoy," Holman said.

The full board of the Clean Water Management trust fund gave preliminary approval on the plan Monday. A final decision will not come until the board meets again in November. The state will request money from other sources to buy all the property.

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