Voters will decide in November whether to spend about $53 million on Apex parks and recreation projects, including the town’s ambitious Pleasant Park.
A bond referendum will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot asking voters to take on debt for the projects. If approved, the measure will lead to an increase in the town’s property tax rate.
Apex bought the Pleasant Park property at the interchange of Old U.S. 1 and N.C. 540 in 2014. Plans for the $37 million park include four baseball diamonds and six multi-use fields, one of which would be a stadium for ticketed events. It would also feature expansive gardens, a splash pad, a 5K course, and basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts.
The town hopes to use the park for recreation programming and to attract youth soccer and lacrosse tournaments.
“The consultants we’re working with, they tell us there’s nothing like this in North Carolina,” Town Manager Drew Havens said.
The Apex Town Council decided during this spring’s budget discussions to ask voters for permission to issue general obligation bonds to pay for the park, as well as new greenways and a senior center.
The tax increase needed to pay off the debt would likely occur in three stages, adding about 5 cents in 1.5-cent increments to the town’s property tax rate between 2019 and 2022.
Apex residents currently pay 38 cents per $100 of appraised property value and would pay about 43 cents by 2022 if the tax rate remains otherwise unchanged.
Residents with a home valued at about $273,000 would see their tax bill increase by $137, Havens said.
Town leaders are still working to determine the bond’s exact amount and the phrasing of the question to appear on November’s ballot.
If voters approve the bond, Havens said, the first phase would likely be sold at the beginning of 2018 alongside a $15 million roads bond approved by Apex voters in 2015.
The current scope of park projects would require $53 million in debt, but Havens said that number could be lower depending on the town’s success in acquiring land.
Other big-ticket items include:
▪ A $2.3 million, 1.25-mile section of the Beaver Creek Greenway, from Kelly Road to the Apex Nature Park.
Eventually, that greenway will connect Apex to the American Tobacco Trail, which goes north to Durham and south to New Hill.
Havens said crews would have to elevate most of the new greenway on boardwalks. The bond money would pay for half of the project, and the rest would come from grants and town capital funds.
▪ A $1.1 million, 4.1-mile section of the Middle Creek Greenway, connecting Lufkin Road south toward Holly Springs.
▪ An $8.5 million senior center, to be built as an addition to the community center at the Hunter Street town government complex.
Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan