$91.78 million Raleigh parks bond vote set for Nov. 4

ccampbell@newsobserver.comJuly 15, 2014 

— The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday formally set a Nov. 4 vote on a proposed $91.78 million parks bond referendum.

If approved, the measure will fund a $12.5 million renovation at Chavis Park, a $12 million community center at Baileywick Park in Northwest Raleigh, $6 million to replace the Pullen Arts Center and about a dozen smaller projects and maintenance needs.

The borrowing would require a 1.72-cent property tax hike starting in 2015. That means the owner of a $300,000 home would pay about $51 more each year.

At a public hearing held Tuesday, most speakers were concerned about a project that’s being left out of the package: a $3.6 million whitewater park below Falls Dam in North Raleigh. The long-delayed project would create a whitewater course for canoes and kayaks on the Neuse River, with room for swimmers at other times.

“This is going to be something used by a lot of different types of people,” said Elizabeth Gardner, who leads the nonprofit raising private funds for the park. “It will be like our own Nantahala Outdoor Center.”

Gardner called on the council to add the project by diverting part of the $10 million in the bond to buy future park land.

And Councilman John Odom, who supports the whitewater park, asked city staff to look for unspent funds to cover the initial round of design and permitting costs. “If we don’t start lining up the permitting, it’ll be so far out,” he said.

Campbell: 919-829-4802; Twitter: @RaleighReporter

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