Contractors have wrapped up work on the second phase of Knightdale Station Park, finishing some of the major projects of the 70-acre park.
The second phase of the project came in about $1 million under budget, thanks in part to grants the Parks and Recreation Department secured, but fell several months behind schedule because of rainy weather over the summer.
Phase II of the park includes the beginnings of an amphitheater area and an aesthetic water tank.
The tank was one project added back into plans when the town received a $400,000 North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant. The grant also helped pay for two additional shelters that were scrapped from original plans in 2013.
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The town budgeted about $3.5 million for the second phase of the project and voters passed a bond referendum in 2012 to help pay for the second phase of the park.
The bond passed with 78 percent of Knightdale voters supporting the measure. The bond raised the town’s property tax rate by 2 cents.
Phase II cost $2,509,694.
Phase I of the park received other smaller grants and used town money budgeted for capital projects. Phase I included the playground, dog park and a picnic shelter.
Projects still to come
Parks and Recreation Director Tina Cheek said there are still several big projects to be completed before everything laid out in the park’s master plan is done.
There are still tennis courts, a skate park and an arboretum to be planned, funded and constructed.
Those projects, though, will be completed as the town sees a need and as funding is available, Cheek said.
“As we see where the use is, the town will make that decision about what needs to go in next,” she said.
She said it appears that the next major project to be funded will be the tennis courts, with funding coming in the 2016 fiscal year, which begins in July 2015.
Town staff is already looking at ways to fully fund the park’s arboretum which will be dedicated to the Wilder family. Former mayor Billy Wilder sold the land to the town that became the park.
The arboretum’s planning stages are funded but construction plans and actual construction are not funded. Cheek has been looking at ways of involving volunteers to help with construction or sponsor parts of the arboretum. She said specifics of that strategy aren’t clear yet.
As she works to align funding for bigger projects, Cheek said the town is also working on small fixes and preparing to move major events to the new park.
At some point during the winter, Public Works will close the playground at the park for a few days to install shade shelters. Cheek said they’ve added more benches in the dog park and addressed issues with fencing around retention ponds.
The parks and recreation department is also preparing to host the town’s first 5K race on Thanksgiving at the park and will move the annual tree lighting, on Dec. 5, to the park.