Town leaders are investigating whether they should acquire a troubled private pond near downtown Cary to turn it into a public park.
The Cary Town Council instructed town staff on July 9 to collaborate with the Coronado Village Homeowners Association about the future of the neighborhood pond, located just north of Walnut Street near where it connects to Walker Street.
The pond is encircled by Coronado Way, Ralph Drive and Warren Avenue.
The HOA approached Councilman Don Frantz about potentially acquiring the pond, said Frantz, who relayed the idea to the council. He said the neighborhood has struggled for years with silt buildup, stagnant water and mosquitoes on the pond.
“Very few members of the community actually pay HOA dues,” he said. “They just do not have the resources to maintain the pond, to dredge the pond properly.”
The neighborhood group previously asked the town for help paying for maintenance, but was turned down because town officials didn’t want to spend public funds on a private pond. The town has turned down many neighborhoods that had similar requests, Frantz said.
But at Coronado Village, he said, “There are some concerns now that it’s potentially becoming a health problem.”
It’s unclear whether the neighborhood, which has more than 100 homes, would support the idea of relinquishing control of the pond. Members of the Coronado Village HOA referred questions to Scott Auger, who wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Some homeowners might be uncomfortable with strangers hanging out so close to their house, Frantz said.
Meanwhile, council members have concerns of their own.
Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and Councilwoman Lori Bush said they’re worried about setting a precedent of acquiring private land, simply because it’s managed poorly.
But Bush said the idea is worth considering because of the pond’s history of troubles.
Councilman Jack Smith said he’s willing to work with Coronado Village only because he’s worried about public safety – not because he wants a park.
“It would be to protect the town,” Smith said. “This problem is getting worse and worse.”
Downtown Cary doesn’t necessarily need a new park, Smith added, because the town plans to spend more than $5.2 million on a park less than a mile west between Academy and Walker streets.