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The "Green" of a Bond Vote Could Protect Wake Green Space

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RALEIGH — The Triangle has lost a lot of green space to development over the years. This fall, Wake County voters could dedicate $15 million to protect the open space that is still left. A Wake County family farm shows how that money might be used.

"We feel strongly about it. We've been here 58 years and everything you see we personally dug a hole and planted," says Georgia Theys.

Georgia and John Theys have worked and lived on the land near Lake Wheeler for more than five decades. A horse farm is their 100-acre slice of paradise.

The Theys feel so strongly about protecting their property, they donated the development rights to a local land trust.

"I'm talking about 100 or 200 years. I could have hired somebody to take care of it for 50 years. I want those guys to take care of it forever," John Theys says.

"What we do is put money in an endowment which generates annual income for us to monitor the property, and we also have to be ready if someone tries to develop it, to defend it," says Kate Dixon of the Triangle Land Conservancy.

The county and the state chipped in $6,000 each to maintain the Theys' property. The bond package Wake county residents will vote on this fall could fund similar preservation efforts.

"What they need to know is if they're interested in clean water, providing more parks and trails and greenways and if they're interested in wildlife preservation, they definitely need to vote yes on November 7 for the bond referendum," says Sig Hutchinson of the Open Space Committee.

Conservationists say they can not begin to protect open space without some money to get started. With $15 million from the bond referendum, they could apply for state and federal matching grants.

That could add up to $45 million to build parks, preserve wildlife, and protect open space in Wake County.

Money from the bond referendum would also be used to purchase Wake County land that might otherwise be bought by developers.


Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Chad Flowers, Photographer
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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