Wake Stone Corp. plans to donate 70-120 acres of the land formerly intended for the Naismith Legacy Park basketball facility to the town for a park.
The land is part of a 170-acre tract at the northwest corner of Forestville and Old Crews roads in the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction that Wake Stone had planned a few years ago to donate to the town for the $10 million basketball facility. The Matthews-based Naismith Legacy Group, named for the inventor of basketball, was not able to collect the funds it had proposed to, and the deal fell apart.
“Our pledge was to the town, not Naismith,” Tom Oxholm, Wake Stone vice president of finance and administration said. “When that failed, the town came back and said, ‘Are you still interested?’ ”
Wake Stone estimates the value of the donation will be more than $2 million with water and sewer access. The value of the full 170-acre property was estimated at $4 million when negotiations were underway for the Naismith facility.
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“It’s a wonderful thing,” said town Development Services Director Chris Hills. “We have a wonderful partner. I want to stress the donation has not been made. It’s a memorandum of understanding regarding a potential donation, but a wonderful community partner and a great opportunity to provide a wonderful benefit to our citizens as we continue to grow.”
Hills said the focus of the park would be athletic facilities. “If you look at what Knightdale Station Park is, for example, it’s more of a gathering place. ... There will be other elements to (the proposed park) as well ... but I think the proposed idea is to address some of our needs from an athletic facilities perspective.”
The Town Council voted unanimously at its meeting Wednesday, Sept. 21, to authorize the town staff to enter into a contract with Cary-based CLH Design for $9,500 to complete the concept plan and to accept a memorandum of understanding that Wake Stone President Samuel Bratton sent to the mayor and council last month. The plan is expected to be completed by Jan. 1.
The memorandum lays out several conditions, including that a buffer of undisturbed land be left along Forestville Road to separate the Wake Stone quarry from the park and that the company retain part of the property for sale or development that would not be in conflict with the park.
“Final terms of the donation will be negotiated between Wake Stone and the Town once the Town Council has completed its long term planning and is ready to discuss specific uses,” the memorandum says.
Hills said it was too early in the process to estimate when construction might start. “We have to have a plan to establish a budget,” he said, “Where we’re at is basically the first first step in order to be able to insert this into the (capital improvements plan) for future years’ budgeting purposes.”
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826