Raleigh Officials Agree On Deal To Preserve Land Near Lake Johnson
Posted May 8, 2002 9:35 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh leaders are so eager to preserve land near Lake Johnson that they agreed to buy it from a developer who planned to build dozens of town houses there.
When Kyle Hall needs a break from the busy pace of southwest Raleigh, he escapes to Lake Johnson. The park is a popular spot for dropping a fishing line, taking a stroll or just watching the day go by.
Like a lot of people who come to the park to unwind, Hall opposed a developer's plan to build 88 town houses adjacent to the lake.
"It definitely wouldn't be as scenic. There are trees everywhere. It's really nice. I don't want to see a bunch of town houses," Hall said.
Neal Hunt is among the city leaders who brokered the deal to preserve the park.
"I've gotten more e-mail on this subject than any other subject since I've been on the City Council," he said.
The city of Raleigh, Wake County and private donors agreed to buy the 12-acre lot off Lake Dam Road for $1.9 million. The developer estimates he could earn $17 million on the town house project, but he is not anxious to wade into a dispute with the community, so he has agreed to sell.
"He is sitting on gold in terms of developing these town homes, so if we don't do it, I feel confident the site will be mass-graded," Hunt said.
As part of the deal, the city is looking for a buyer for another property in southeast Raleigh that is owned by the same developer. They believe they are just a few days away from a deal that would make everyone happy.
"I think it shows pretty good initiative on local government levels to conserve areas so many people use," Hall said.
The county will chip in $700,000. The city hopes to raise $1.2 milion privately. However, if that money does not come in, the city is on the hook for the full $1.2 million.