Local Politics

Proposed bonds would pay for Raleigh parks improvements

Posted November 2, 2014

— Voters in Raleigh face a choice on Tuesday's ballot of whether to approve $91.8 million in bonds for upgrades to city parks, greenways and community centers.

The referendum is part of a new 20-year plan for Raleigh parks that the City Council approved in May and includes $41.4 million in bonds for parks, $15.6 million for greenways, $27.3 million for buying land and designing new parks or expansions to existing ones and $7.5 million for historic sites and replacing the Pullen Art Center.

"It’s not like it’s just downtown, just north Raleigh; it’s spread out all over the city," Jeff Tippett, chairman of the Parks Bond Advocacy Committee, said of the various projects covered by the bond proposal.

"I don’t think we can become complacent with what we have. We have to keep pushing to make Raleigh a great place to live," Tippett said. "We feel like, with the city’s (bond) ratings right now, it is a good time. We feel like, especially within the urban areas like Raleigh, the economy is stable, and it is a good time to invest in the future."

Paul Fitts, a board member for the Wake County Taxpayers Association, countered that Raleigh residents cannot afford another tax increase to pay for parks.

If approved, the referendum would raise the city tax rate by 1.72 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, so the owner of a $150,000 home would pay an extra $25 in property taxes.

"It’s not that we’re not in favor of parks or maintaining parks. We feel like the general debt of the city is too much at this time," Fitts said.

Raleigh is already paying off $1.8 billion in debt accrued over time, he said, predicting the city officials will return to taxpayers with another bond issue in the next year or two to pay for the transformation of the former Dorothea Dix Hospital property south of downtown into a major park.

"We’re just asking the city to cut back, slim it down, figure out things within your departments you can cut because taxpayers can only give so much," he said.

Tippett said good parks are a key element of the quality of life that attracts new businesses and other ventures to Raleigh.

"It does affect everyone," he said. "Whether we’re on the greenways or not, we’re all impacted by this."

Raleigh mother Claren Englebreth said she loves to take her two sons to local parks to play and ride their bikes on the greenways.

"I do think you can always improve and make things better," Englebreth said. "Fun things for families to do outside is always a good thing."


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  • Wacky_dood Nov 3, 2014

    "Raleigh is already paying off $1.8 billion in debt accrued over time..."

    Wow, $1.8 billion in debt...
    I wish the story included the annual costs to the City of Raleigh to service that debt. I bet it's more than the entire budget for the Fire Department.

  • xhidden99 Nov 3, 2014

    There's nothing for parks in North and North East Raleigh so I'll pass on this 'do unto other's' initiative. Nice idea, too bad it's so parochial and agendized.

  • dwntwnboy2 Nov 3, 2014

    View quoted thread

    - property owners just pass the cost on to the renters so the renters DO "have skin in the game" and pay for this as well. I love the fact we have great spaces for parks and a fantastic greenway system where you can bike from Walnut Creek Amph all the way to just about Cary without having to be on the roads.

  • jimcricket15 Nov 3, 2014

    It amazes me that YET again Raleigh wants to pile on a bunch of debt. I am glad that I am not in the city limits. It is bad enough being in the county and having the out of control school system pile debt on my back. Ya know, maybe just maybe if these politicians would stop piling up debt, they could instead use money that would have been wasted on debt servicing and actually pay cash instead of using plastic. The part that I find interesting is these bonds ALWAYS seem to pass. Perhaps it is because lots of people figure they won't be around to have to pick up the tab. This nonsense about parks affecting everyone is a crock. Most people will not ever set foot in a park. Does not mean you should not have them, but Government needs to learn to live within its means. Stop piling up debt. Be smart, for once vote this down.

  • davidhartman Nov 3, 2014

    Sadly, the rampant liberalism mentality of 'tax & spend' is destroying this area just like it does everywhere it is embraced. There have now been massive bond measures on every recent election and this is exactly one of the reasons my family left CA because the tax burden became ridiculous. If this bond gets approved (and there is no logical reason that it should), there will be a tidal wave of bonds in the coming elections with everything from police, fire, emergency, etc. asking for money 'for the community'. Please send a message to the liberal bureaucrats that "enough is enough"; please vote 'NO' on this unnecessary, bloated measure.

  • Nobody but Carolina Nov 3, 2014

    When did Raleigh last ask for a bond like this? I don't live in Raleigh and it seems like it was only two or three years ago or am I wrong on the time frame?

  • miseem Nov 3, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Right. Fortunately, landlords are not intelligent enough to factor in property taxes when they establish rental rates, giving renters a free ride on covering those taxes. oops. I forgot. This was supposed to be a big secret that owners of rental property were not supposed to find out about.

  • jwbmom1965 Nov 3, 2014

    Vote NO!!!!. When is enough going to be enough. Tax and spend, tax and spend, when is enough going to be ENOUGH!????!!??

  • Wacky_dood Nov 3, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I agree. Hopefully, we can sell our house in the spring and leave the city.

  • theliberadicator Nov 3, 2014

    As usual the bond will pass because the voters have no spine and love racking up debt and their property taxes.

    I'm voting no.