Lake Crabtree Park reflections
On March 3, Morrisville Mayor Mark Stohlman and Wake Commissioner Sig Hutchinson hosted a forum for residents to talk about the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority’s potential plans to develop parts of Lake Crabtree Park. More than 100 people attended the meeting. Stohlman provided the letter he sent to Tommy Hunt, chairman of the authority’s board of directors, who wasn’t in attendance at the meeting. The letter has been edited for length.
Dear Chairman Hunt,
The meeting was well attended, and there was representation from a variety of interested parties. In addition to the elected officials and staff, there were citizens that represented Wake County Parks, Umstead Park, WakeUP Wake County, TORC, savethecrab.org, and a host of groups focused on saving North Carolina’s parks and green space.
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Those in attendance clearly understood that it’s in everyone’s best interest to work towards a win-win situation so that the RDU Airport Authority can satisfy the need for increased revenue while meeting the needs of a broader community.
Lake Crabtree Park is the most visited park in the Wake County parks system and is already recognized for its local and regional significance.
After Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson and I gave an overview on the background of the park and the single-track area lease, most of public discussion was about the economic benefits of the trails, and the fact that bikers and hikers travel from up to an hour away to enjoy them. The public acknowledged RDU’s need for revenue, but does not believe that more offices and hotels in place of such a recreational asset is the best answer.
The group considered alternatives, including the status quo, different land configurations in the area and partnering with RDU, Wake County and the state parks system to develop an urban regional ride center.
The group is appreciative of the upcoming opportunity to speak in front of the RDU Authority Board as part of your Master Planning process. We look forward to being engaged with the airport over the next 12 months as you begin your planning process to find a solution that works for everyone.
We also realize there is other land that is controlled by the airport that might be considered part of the discussion.
Thank you for sharing this update with your board members and the RDU executives.
Mayor Mark Stohlman