Falcon Park is one of Fuquay-Varina’s oldest parks, but soon it will look years younger.
Renovations at the park are part of a multiyear effort recently outlined by town officials. Fuquay-Varina plans to spend millions of dollars to connect greenways, update existing parks and create new ones.
Much of the work would be paid for with a $2 million bond approved by voters in 2006, as well as fees paid by park users.
Falcon Park, one of the first projects in the five-year plan, is set to get an outdoor performance area for small shows as well as new walking trails, playground equipment and more.
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“That park’s pretty much getting a total renovation,” said town spokeswoman Susan Weis.
The Fuquay-Varina Board of Commissioners recently allocated nearly $173,000 for the Falcon Park project and more than $64,000 for improvements at Mineral Springs Park.
“We have spent a lot of time and money in the last five years on sidewalks,” Weis said. “Now the focus is shifting toward parks.”
Jonathan Cox, the town’s director of parks and recreation, recently presented a master plan for Fuquay-Varina’s parks and cultural offerings to town commissioners. He outlined nearly $7.3 million in projects for the commissioners to consider.
The largest expenditure would be an anticipated $5 million for a new cultural arts center, tentatively scheduled for 2019.
The other $2.3 million would go to projects like adding a skate park and basketball court in South Park, building or fixing up several playgrounds around town and adding lights and dugouts to the ball fields at Ballentine Elementary School.
Longer-term projects identified in the master plan, which wouldn’t be addressed until 2020 or later, if at all, include a senior center, swimming pool complex and second community center.
The town also wants to be more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, Cox said in a recent interview.
“Connectivity is the main thing,” he said. “We have a lot of sidewalks and greenways that lead to nowhere.”
A new 1.75-mile greenway extension will cross N.C. 55 to connect Honeycutt Park with the Park-Depot Greenway trail, located near the South Lakes neighborhood.
The town plans to hire a firm by Oct. 6 to start work on the trail, which will be largely funded by the N.C. Department of transportation, Cox said.
In addition to building new greenways and revamping some parks, Fuquay-Varina is also pushing to expand the classes and programs offered by the parks and recreation department.
Participation grows by about 14 percent every season, Cox said. The new season of programs started this month.
The town is offering basketball and dance camps for children of all ages. There’s also tennis for adults and children, fitness programs, martial arts, painting classes and nature walks. Age-specific events range from bingo and senior dances to practice tests for the SAT and ACT college-entrance exams.
“One of the things I’m trying to do is offer a lot of activities from teens to seniors, (from) toddlers all the way up,” Cox said.