County commissioners, last month, gave Knightdale and the developers of Naismith Legacy Park a reprieve on a key deadline. That the deadline is needed is cause for concern.
The deadline called for the town of Knightdale to transfer property to the organization which wants to build a unique basketball facility complete with dormitory space to house campers. But the town didn’t want to transfer land to a new owner who didn’t have the remainder of his financing in place. There’s some logic there, but it seems language could have been included in the transfer that would have brought the land back into the town’s possession in the event that the Naismith group couldn’t raise the money it needs to make the project work.
That would have allowed the transfer to go forward and the project would remain on schedule. The deadline for raising the remainder of the funds is still a year or so away, so it wasn’t totally unexpected that the financing hasn’t been pinned down.
Named after sport’s inventor and with support of James Naismith’ family, the poject seemed like a slam dunk. Not so fast.
While county commissioners have not withdrawn their support for the project, they made it clear that there would be no more changes to the agreement that would include $3 million from county funds toward the project.
And there are plenty of other suitors in Wake County ready, willing and able to use that money. Knightdale can’t afford to just let it go for now and go get the money later. No such guarantees exist.
We believe in the premise of this project. We see it as a real boon for the town of Knightdale and its ability to draw traffic to town from outside its own municipal limits. That bodes well for local businesses and it boosts the town’s chances to attract more businesses and more permanent residents – all good things.
We believe Knightdale officials see the same opportunities. At this point, we think it would be best if Knightdale looks aggressively for ways to support the project and simply declining the transfer of land seems more like an act of bureaucracy than an effort to be a partner who’s all-in.