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RDU eases worries about Lake Crabtree park takeover

Posted October 8, 2014

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— Representatives of Raleigh-Durham International Airport are trying to ease the minds of residents and bicyclists who frequent the trails in and around Lake Crabtree County Park, saying they have no immediate plans to redevelop the area.

The tract, southeast of the airport between Interstate 40 and Aviation Parkway, is actually two properties, the 33-acre park, which is leased to the county through 2025, and the area around the park, where the bike trails are.

Both are owned by the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and leased to Wake County at cost. When the most recent agreement ended, the airport opted to renegotiate.

Airport spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said the airport opted to let the lease lapse to negotiate a shorter term to give them flexibility.

Without a guarantee, park users are worried that development will take away their access.

Members of the Triangle Off-Road Cyclists group started a letter-writing campaign and launched a website that warns, "If RDU moves forward with this plan, it would KILL ALL THE TRAILS in the Lake Crabtree and surrounding areas."

"Any amount of development would be extremely detrimental," said David Housekeeper. "A lot of beginners, lots of families, lots of children come to this park specifically because of the friendliness of the trails."

The idea of any development doesn't sit well with Morrisville Mayor Mark Stohlman. He's reached out to Raleigh and Cary mayors and to members of the RDU authority to voice his concern.

"It's one of the reasons people come and live in our area," he said. Development of a public recreation area would, he said, "destroy the very thing that makes that airport busy and makes us as successful as we are."

Hamlin said no development is imminent.

"We have no plans to develop that land at this time," she said.

And the airport authority understands the value of the trails. A study of possible uses pointed that out.

"They did look at this 149-acre parcel of land as a possible place for office development," Hamlin said. "They said one reason it is attractive is because of the bike trails and because of its proximity to Lake Crabtree County Park, so those two things could live together."

Juan Pedraza, vice president of Triangle Off-Road Cyclists, said any change would be detrimental.

"If you reduce the amount of trails, it won’t be the same," he said.

"It's ground zero for all of us, very dear to our heart. It will always be our home trail."

17 Comments

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  • Rod Runner Oct 9, 2014
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    They should not be buying land that they already own and control.

    Wake County appoints 2 members to the RDU AA board, and so does Raleigh, Durham City, and Durham County.

    If the RDU AA isn't willing to give up the land to Wake County permanently, it is because of the other board members.

  • Eq Videri Oct 9, 2014
    user avatar

    The county should buy the land from the airport.

  • HGA_Matt Oct 9, 2014

    "Development of a public recreation area would..."

    That's just the thing... it is only a public recreation area because the private group that owns the land has leased it out to allow it to be used that way. The very nature of a lease is that it is temporary, and either party can choose to walk away and pursue other plans when it is terminated. If these people are so passionate about it, they should advocate for their town to purchase the land.

  • Craig Thompson Oct 9, 2014
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    Well I guess when all the parks go away I will spend more time cycling the streets of Fuquay

  • ChrisW Oct 9, 2014

    To put it simply, the Airport Authority is considering removing approximately 80% of the land from Wake County’s Lake Crabtree County Park. The two parcels are managed as one by Wake County parks & rec staff. While they may be leased as two different parcels, all of the land is promoted as one singular park. Even wakegov.com website shows all of the land as one park (http://www.wakegov.com/parks/lakecrabtree/Documents/Lake%20Crabtree%20Park%20Brochure%203-2013.pdf). Furthermore, the popularity of the facilities for hiking and picnicking will be severely diminished if buildings are constructed in lieu of a wooded buffer zone to the interstate. I'm greatly saddened that not only is the parcel being considered for development, but that the airport authority is trying to play a smoke and mirrors game to trick the public out of a very popular park.

  • Ijaz Fahted Oct 9, 2014
    user avatar

    It never cease to amaze me at how ridiculous the comments on here can get. It's like they threw logic and any sense right out the window.

    "If you want a park then go buy one yourself" Ha! Nonsense.

  • marathonk Oct 9, 2014

    @AFSC426X3. Per Triangle Business Journal, mountain bikers makeup about 1/3 off all park users. MTB'ers do not have unfettered access to the park. The trails are only available during park hours. Trails can be closed due to to weather conditions. A public park that is open to all should not be charging one group of users while allowing others free use.

    RDU was created when the Federal government turned over 1223 acres to local governmental units. Now is the time for local government and civic leaders to ask the airport authority to deed the land to Wake County so the park will not be jeopardized.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 9, 2014

    Native Americans understood the value of land.

    They said, "Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."

    We can, and should, learn from these values.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 9, 2014

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    “Believing” means thinking without evidence...often in the face of contrary evidence. It's not healthy.

    If you actually visit the park, you'll see that these are trails for hiking, walking, dog-walking, biking, etc. I know that many people don't value our land...the beauty & importance of natural areas...but this is OUR land...public land...owned by us, our government.

    They aren't making any more of it...this land thing, that is...and when it's gone, that's it. And, all we have left is some coins in our pocket, asphalt and a strip mall.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 9, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Our government owns this land not some private company. Care to rephrase?

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