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To Paint or Not to Paint, That is the Apex Question

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APEX — Cary had its "shiny diner" controversy. Now Apex is embroiled in a sticky situation with paint.

Some want a landmark building brought back to the original look, but others say a new paint job on an old city owned building is just fine.

Apex owes its heritage to the tracks that slice through town. Its quaint, small town atmosphere attracts an exploding population and many want to keep the look.

The center of controversy is the old Town Hall. Its brick now covered with a new coat of beige paint and green trim. Preservationist Ann Grebing fears a precedent may be set if the paint remains on the original beige brick facade.

"In preservation there's only one way to do it, and that's right," Grebing said.

The Wake County Historic Preservation Commission turned down an after-the-fact request for approval of the paint job. Tommy Smith has worked twelve years across the street. All that time the building was red.

"Anything other than chipping paint looks good," Smith said.

Shortly after the turn of the century two great fires devastated downtown Apex, and the buildings were replaced with brick buildings using pressed brick on the front. Most who live there agree that they want to preserve the 109 remaining historic structures to maintain the charm of their town.

Grebing contends town officials did not follow preservation guidelines. Town Manager William Sutton says the town dealt with the Wake County planning staff which oversees the historic preservation commission.

"We'll continue to try to follow whatever process they tell us to follow," Town Manager William Sutton said. "That's what we've been doing all along and hope that finally some good comes of it or somebody can lay it to rest for us."

Members of the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission say if Apex officials had come to them first, there likely would not have been a problem.