Local News

Task in Wake Forest Is to Manage Growth, Not Fight It

The town knows that its future is go-go and grow-grow, not trying to say no-no. The challenge is how to manage the process.

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WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Wake Forest just keeps growing – recently the town passed the 25,000 population mark – and its population has doubled in the last five years.

Everywhere you look, Wake Forest is home to new homes and new developments.

“Wake Forest is now on the map. It's the new Cary,” said Pam Tarangelo, who owns La Foresta Italian Cafe.

More than 1,000 people a year move to Wake Forest. With construction to begin this year on two more subdivisions, that number will only increase.

“The question is not are we going to grow. The question is how are we going to grow? Where are we going to grow?” said Mayor Vivian Jones.

Jones says Wake Forest is growing out, with lots of development outside the town center.

At La Foresta, Tarangelo said that means potentially more customers. The problem is that they have to find her place.

“I think a lot of people don't even know there is a downtown Wake Forest. A lot of people that live in this area, you know, they might live in Heritage or live in Wakefield, it's just where they live. It's where they sleep,” Tarangelo said.

“It certainly is not a dead downtown, but we do need more growth,” Jones said.

While the mayor says there are efforts to bring more customers downtown, Wake Forest also must keep up with the new faces on the outskirts.

That means infrastructure and plenty of traffic concerns, especially on Capital Boulevard.

“That is not our problem. It's a regional problem,” Jones said.

Locally, the mayor said the town will continue to embrace growth, all while making sure too much doesn't happen too quickly.

Wake Forest leaders will meet for a planning department retreat next week. They'll discuss how they want to manage the town's growth.