Local News

Legos used to build regional growth plans

Posted February 24, 2009 1:48 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT

— Hundreds of business, environmental and community leaders from across North Carolina gathered downtown Tuesday to envision how the Triangle should look in 2030.

Thirty tables of 10 participants each used Legos to help plan development as part of Reality Check 2009.

"The Legos are used as a representation of new homes (and) new jobs. Yarn is used as (representing) transportation systems," said  Fred Day, a former chief executive of Progress Energy Inc. and co-chairman of Reality Check. "It is a game, but you will see it's a very serious game. It's about creating a vision for this region for the next 20 or 30 years."

Organizers say more than 1.1 million people will move to the Triangle in the next two decades, putting more stress on area resources and infrastructure. Long-range planning is the best way to cope with that expansion, they said.

"The (economic) dislocation that we're going through today causes people to be more reflective," said Rick Weddle, president of Research Triangle Foundation and co-chair of Reality Check. "How did we get into this (growth) mess? Well, how do we get out of it. The decisions we make today are the decisions that we'll be defining the next several decades of growth in this region."

Reality Check will host a Friday morning meeting to review the planning efforts by each group and to devise and prioritize strategies for handling growth.

Watch the Friday morning meeting LIVE on WRAL.com, beginning at 8:30 a.m.