In the 1930s, the Wake Forest Men’s Civic Club imagined a town where trees lined the streets, residents had access to the things they needed and well-kept courts and fields provided athletes a place to practice their sport.
That vision has been realized in Wake Forest, Mayor Vivian Jones said Monday during her seventh annual State of the Town address.
“These men had an incredible vision for our community, and I believe it has become a reality,” Jones said.
The annual address highlights the town’s accomplishments over the past year and lays out some of the goals town staff and elected officials hope to accomplish in the coming year.
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In 2014, Jones said, downtown Wake Forest became a shining example of everything the town has to offer and can offer in the future.
The downtown district won several awards last year and attracted new shops. White Street Brewery was recognized in Bon Appétit, a food magazine, as one of the top 10 breweries in the United States.
Jones said downtown has also become an important part of the town’s recreational offerings. The area served as a venue for festivals and large events last year.
“2014 was a year of celebration of our charming and thriving downtown,” Jones said.
The district also benefited from a working relationship between the town and Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as more far-reaching groups, she said.
“We have developed a solid relationship with the Department of Commerce and the regional economic development groups so that we are included as a recommended destination for businesses looking at the Triangle area,” Jones said.
Wake Forest has seen major growth, and Jones said the town will need to focus on programs and projects to handle an influx of residents and businesses.
“It is our desire and our job to make sure that we maintain our position as a good place to live and work,” she said.
She applauded voters’ approval of a $25 million parks and recreation bond in November. The money will fund improvements at parks and a handful of greenway projects.
But recreation isn’t the only way to serve a community. Jones also recognized the Wake Forest Police Department for its professionalism and handling of big cases in 2014.
In April, the department teamed with the FBI and other agencies to investigate a kidnapping case. Late last year and earlier this year, police responded to reports of two men approaching children near their homes.
Those events were side effects of otherwise positive growth, Jones said.
“Growth is going to continue, but are we going to rail against more people and more buildings and more traffic?” she asked. “Are we going to constantly complain and be concerned that something bad might happen here? No. Let’s not do that.”