Children will soon have a new place to cool off without going to the pool.
Wake Forest’s first sprayground – an interactive water feature – is expected to open in September at Taylor Street Park. There are also plans to install spraygrounds at E. Carroll Joyner Park, Holding Park and J.B. Flaherty Park in the next four years.
Town staff have identified $500,000 in parks projects as part of Wake Forest’s proposed $3 million capital spending plan for the coming year.
“We’re trying to expand on what we have and try to keep up with growth,” said Ruben Wall, director of parks, recreation and cultural resources.
The town’s only pool is over 70 years old, and a sprayground costs a fraction of what a new pool would cost, Wall said.
“We’ve looked at how we can provide more aquatic features and not have to build a pool, which is millions of dollars,” Wall said.
The sprayground at Taylor Street Park will cost about $325,000. The town will pay $65,000 of the cost, and a grant from Wake County will cover the rest, said Finance Director Aileen Staples.
As part of the proposed spending plan, the Smith Creek Soccer Center would get restroom facilities, revised parking and playground upgrades to meet federal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A bridge on the Kiwanis Greenway would also be replaced.
Town Manager Kip Padgett will present a proposed budget to the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners on May 3. The board plans to adopt a budget June 24, and the new fiscal year begins in July.
The highest-ticket item on the proposed spending plan is street maintenance, which would cost $825,000.
An analysis of the town’s 98 miles of pavement identified several roads, including South Allen Road, Holding Avenue and West Oak Avenue, that need to be repaired, said Eric Keravuori, director of engineering.
The analysis also identified areas, including Foundation Drive by Heritage High School, where connector roads could alleviate snarled traffic, Keravuori said.
“It’s both maintaining what we have and keeping up with the needs of our network,” he said.
Fixing and expanding roads is a top priority for Wake Forest. In a letter to town commissioners, Padgett suggested a $5 million bond to get ahead of road maintenance issues.
Keravuori said the money would allow the town to better maintain roads instead of overhauling them.
“We’d like to get them in a good condition, so they can get a little attention every year instead of a lot of attention every 10 years,” he said.
Other proposed projects in the spending plan include town hall repairs, security upgrades and reservoir improvements.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802: @ReporterCioffi