A planning group is working on ways of making what is called the "Center Of The Region," a new place to work and live.
"It's the economic engine for what's going on in the Raleigh- Durham area, so what comes out of here affects the entire region as a whole," consultant Craig Lewis said.
The 60-square mile area is bounded by U.S. 70, Research Triangle Park, RDU International and High House Road in Cary. Traffic congestion is a primary issue, particularly for Morrisville which lies completely in the region.
"A lot more people drive through than come here to live," Morrisville Mayor Gordon Cromwell said.
The area around Morrisville and RDU International is already changing. Distribution warehouses border the airport and Interstate 540 sweeps through it as does Interstate 40. The new Briercreek community joins 5,000 new apartments, which have sprouted in just five years.
John Hodges-Copple of the Triangle J Council Of Governments said the airport is a lynch pin.
"Whether it's hotels and convention centers or whether it's distribution facilities, it's going to be very important to figure out how the airport relates to the development that occurs around it," he said.
Planning the new area is critical if the area is to live up to the promise of what can be, rather than a jumble of subdivisions, office buildings and fast-food restaurants.
"Whether you live here, whether your children might live here, whether your grandchildren might live and work here, your life will probably be touched by this area to some degree," Hodges-Copple said.
The planning session continues at RDU International through Friday morning.
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