New Plan Could Mean More Books, Open Fields
Posted November 10, 1997
RALEIGH — Wake County is laying out plans to catch up with the population boom. More places to play and more space to read books are in the works. If it passes, more than $70 million dollars of improvements to parks and libraries could be on the way.
If you're looking for an open soccer field for a quick game or a football field to toss a ball around, it's tough to find in today's Triangle. As more and more people make our area home, less and less park space is open.
"We have a lot of people who like to play sports of all types, so not only are we trying to meet the needs of the kids, but also for the adults as well," explains David Carter, Director of the Wake County Parks and Recreation Department. "Therein lies part of the problem. The demand is far exceeding our ability to supply all those facilities."
The parks department master plan pitched to county commissioners Monday calls for 1700 acres of new park space with giant sports complexes. The price tag? $38 million dollars.
There's a lack of soccer fields, a lack of baseball fields, but there's also a lack of library space. Library leaders say they're bursting at the seams trying to deal with Wake County's growth.
"There's just not enough space to handle the public that comes to us," says Wake County Libraries Director Thomas Moore. "To be able to stock the collection, we need to be able to serve that public and have room for everybody to interact with each other."
The library master plan calls for five new district libraries and improvements to two regional libraries. That would mean another $32 million dollars.
"There's only X number of fields, and you've got Y number of players," Carter says, "and the pot's only so big. So that's what we're experiencing right now."
The Wake County Commissioner's pot is only so big too. The question is, what will take priority when the money's on the line?
If passed, both long range plans would stretch over ten years. County leaders say voters could see a bond referendum to pay for the projects on the ballot two years from now.