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Wake Forest Leaders & Developers Working Together to Meet the Demands of Growth

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WAKE FOREST — Many of the Triangle's small towns are losing their charm to bulldozers, as unplanned growth catches people off guard. One Wake County town is trying to bring in development without losing its character.

The first ever Wake Forest Economic Development Site Showcase is offering builders the chance to share and show off their plans with town leaders. The idea is thatWake Forestwill be better off if the town and developers are all on the same page.

"We'll work hard to pick and choose what we want to do, so that as new development comes in, it can be an asset to the existing residents," says developer Andy Ammons. "Certainly, the town will gain by leaps and bounds. We want to make sure that growth is the way we want it."

Wake Forest is at a crossroads being faced by many smaller towns. Some residents want to stop being just a bedroom community to Raleigh and develop their town's identity.

To do that, a town needs job development -- not just more housing developments.

For example, the old Burlington Mills plant is about to make the change into an office and retail center called Riverplace.

Developers like Richard Ladd say they feel wanted.

"That's why we chose to be in the Wake Forest city limits -- going through, getting re-zoned and being part of the town of Wake Forest. They have helped us tremendously in getting involved in the community. We like the town of Wake Forest. We see the growth," says Ladd.

The first-of-its-kind meeting for the town could have a big impact on Wake Forest's future. TheState Division of Water Qualityheld a public hearing Thursday night on the town tapping into the Neuse River as a water source.