Local News

Cary Faces Financial Decision On Aquatics Center

Posted June 25, 2004 12:51 p.m. EDT

— Most people agree an aquatics center in Cary is needed. The one at Pullen Park in Raleigh is the only indoor facility serving all of Wake County.

Now, with two proposals on the table, Cary could have a big financial decision on its hands.

A 21-acre property located off Cary Towne Boulevard may be the future site of the Triangle Aquatic Center. Town Council approved the plans Thursday night.

Meanwhile, another group in Cary is going ahead with its plans to build a $40 million aquatics project, complete with an Olympic-sized pool, hockey rink and fitness center.

Hill Carrow, of Sports Properties Inc., wants to use public and private funds to build it. He said the other proposed aquatic center will not affect his plans.

"The consultants that Cary hired actually have shown that out of 81 municipalities and 27 states, that they have never seen a more severe need for aquatics," Carrow said.

A group headed by Mike Curran is out in front with its plans to build a second aquatics center, which would be funded entirely from private money. The Triangle Aquatics Center would be a 77,000 square foot indoor facility.

"The facility will bring about 100,000 people a year for aquatic events," Curran said. "And again, the restaurants, businesses and Cary Towne Center should benefit from this type of activity."

Even though the Town Council approved the plans, neighbors nearby had a problem -- not with the center, but with a road.

They are upset about the town's zoning requirement. It would extend a neighborhood roads, they believe motorists will use as a short cut.

"It's go to be a cut-through to the mall," neighbor Kitty Williams said.

Cary Town Council and the Triangle Aquatic Center developers oppose that road extension. The issue now goes to Planning and Zoning.

All things being equal, the developers hope to break ground by the end of the year.

Also Thursday, Cary's town council unanimously passed next year's $143 million budget. But it will require some belt tightening.

Cary is pulling student resource officers out of 12 elementary schools. The officers will remain in middle and high schools.

Water fees will go up more than 17 percent in August. That's an average of eight more dollars for an average household.