Wake may have ‘win-win’ for Crooked Creek park site; commissioner glitter bombed

Wake County leaders will consider giving the former Crooked Creek Golf Course to the town of Fuquay-Varina — for free.

It’s the latest turn for the 143-acre property since the Wake County Board of Commissioners bought it last summer for a future park only to vote to sell it a few months later.

Now, commissioners who have advocated for the park say a “win-win” has been found to preserve the land outside the county’s purview.

Commissioners shared the news on social media and will discuss it when they meet Monday.

County Manager David Ellis will ask for the board’s approval to begin negotiations to give the park to Fuquay-Varina, at no cost, Commissioner Greg Ford said in a Facebook post.

“I am very encouraged by this motion and the many positive outcomes it has for the the use of the property, and the current and future citizens who will benefit from its local use and control,” Ford wrote on Facebook. “This is a win-win solution for the entire Wake County community.”

In his own Facebook post, Commissioner Matt Calabria said he also looked forward to the negotiations.

“Monday’s meeting will be the starting gun, not the finish line,” he wrote. “Many details must be worked out before we can say we’ve reached a deal. No commitment has been made, and residents should continue to be attentive to this issue. However, the county’s emerging direction is worth being excited about.”

The county spent just over $4 million to buy the property from The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit that conserves natural and open space.

Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne had no comment Wednesday. The next Fuquay-Varina Board of Commissioners meeting is Tuesday.

South Wake Park Project leader Ron Nawokczyk said he is cautiously optimistic.

“If the property is going to be saved permanently as a park, and not sold off as surplus property, then that is a huge step in the right direction,” he said.

Greg Ford

Meanwhile, Ford received a glitter bomb — a device that releases glitter when opened — at his home in late January.

The incident was first reported by CBS17. A related message said “Make better decisions next time,” the TV station reported.

His daughter opened the package, thinking it was a recently ordered toy.

“She opened it up and it exploded,” Ford said in an interview. “She did get some glitter in her eyes. It scared her, of course. She’s crying. Thankfully, [Ford’s husband] grabbed her and brought her to the sink and rinsed the glitter out. Otherwise it could have been much more of a problem. She wasn’t hurt. She was just scared.”

It was sent anonymously in the mail through a company called Ruin Days, which has several glitter bombs and other “pranks” listed on its website. Ford told other county commissioners about the glitter bomb in case they also received one. Eventually county staff was notified, including the Wake County sheriff. A deputy was sent to Ford’s home to investigate the glitter bomb.

It’s up to law enforcement whether to file charges, Ford said. Efforts to reach the Sheriff’s Office were unsuccessful. A sheriff’s office spokesperson speculated the glitter bomb might have been sent by someone unhappy with Ford’s vote to list the former Crooked Creek Golf Course as surplus property, according to CBS17.

Members of the South Wake Park Project “categorically condemn such a childish prank,” according to a statement Wednesday.

“The sender’s misguided action does not represent this group,” the statement said. “Thousands of SWPP members have been involved in the park project, and we encourage all parties to continue meaningful dialogue and to work toward a solution.”

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Anna Johnson covers Raleigh and Wake County for the News & Observer. She has previously covered city government, crime and business for newspapers across North Carolina and received many North Carolina Press Association awards, including first place for investigative reporting. She is a 2012 alumna of Elon University.
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