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Debate Continues Over Future Of North Raleigh Land

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Horseshoe Farm Park has been a battleground for dispute about a park in North Raleigh. Now, there's talk of a compromise.

The issue is whether to leave the 146 acres in their natural state or convert it to a recreational-use area. The only thing that both sides agree on is that there isn't enough park space in the fast-growing part of the city.

City planners have recommended building a community center with two gymnasiums and outdoor basketball courts. Opponents said that could ruin the beauty of Horseshoe Farm, so the city is looking at other options, such as facilities at Durant Nature Park. Opponents state the same argument, however.

"Mixing sports facilities with high-quality nature parks is not a winning combination," said Marsha Presnell-Jennette with People for Parks.

"The opposition to bringing these uses together in some proximity just continues to baffle me, and I just don't understand that," said Tommy Craven, a member of the City Council's Raleigh's Public Works Committee.

The committee took up the issue Tuesday, and it seems to be moving away from Horseshoe Farm Park. Another option may be land off the east side of Louisburg Road where commuters pass a towering plastic statue of a bearded man.

Developers plan to build a school on the site within two years, and they said they're willing to work with the city to build a community center and neighborhood park there also. However, there's only about 15 acres for those, which might not be big enough.

"I can't tell you how much I appreciate that city council is starting to look at alternatives," said Jamie Ramsey of the group Friends of Horseshoe Farm.

Some feel the city is not looking at enough alternatives. Still others believe the city is not listening to enough voices.

"Who is going to speak up for the children who want to play soccer, baseball, football or need meeting rooms for their Scouting programs?" said former city councilman Ron Kirschbaum.

"I certainly want to continue looking at all of these sites and other potential sites, because we need more parks and we need them now," said Public Works Committee member Jessie Taliafero.

On Tuesday, the committee voted to look at taking a piece of city land next to Durant Nature Park and possibly putting a recreation center there. The committee will pass that recommendation onto the Raleigh City Council, which will make the final decision.


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