Cary News

Wake County approves plans for future Cary library

This month’s lane closures on Walnut Street are associated with construction of the new Cary Regional Library and parking deck.
This month’s lane closures on Walnut Street are associated with construction of the new Cary Regional Library and parking deck. Courtesy of Wake County

The Wake County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Monday the schematic design plans for a future regional library and 350-space parking deck in downtown Cary.

This will move the plan one step closer to its anticipated fall 2018 completion. Mark Forestieri, director of Wake County’s facilities design and construction department, said the bidding process would begin next summer, and a construction contract is expected to be awarded soon after.

This is part of a joint plan between the town and the county to replace the 11,000-square-foot library on South Academy Street with a larger one on 3 acres at the corner of Walnut Street and Kildaire Farm Road.

The 22,000- to 25,000-square-foot Cary library will be two floors, plus a lower level for future community use. As a regional library, it would offer additional programming, a large multipurpose room and an increased volume of books.

The main floor of the library would house the children’s department and the main circulation desk, while the upper level would be for other reading materials, said Steve Schuster of Clearscapes, a Raleigh design firm.

The project will cost the county $12.8 million, including $7.6 million for the library, $1 million for parking and $4.2 million for other costs.

“This has been a long and winding road, but it’s been exciting and it’s been fun,” Forestieri said.

Cary’s contribution to the project is about $9.7 million for most of the parking deck, lower level library improvements, public art and a stormwater system. The town is providing the land for the library.

The plans, particularly the public art piece that will be integrated into the parking deck, garnered praise from the commissioners.

The north wall of the deck will feature a pixelated image of trees that mimic the surrounding nature of the future Downtown Park, which will be next to the library. This facade would have openings in it that could be lit internally at night, giving the parking deck a firefly effect. There would be a similar two-toned canopy design placed on the glass that encases the northwest stairwell.

“I’m so excited about incorporating the public art piece,” Commissioner Jessica Holmes said. “I’m also incredibly excited about the sustainability and the sort of integration of the historic aspects of downtown and integrating that with the new aspects of downtown.”

New projects

In other business, the Wake County commissioners approved hearing from six municipalities and entities about projects that could receive a piece of $3.35 million in occupancy and prepared food and beverage tax revenues.

County Manager Jim Hartmann recommended projects to receive funding after a proposed park in Knightdale fell through. He recommended projects in Cary, Morrisville, Fuquay-Varina, Raleigh and Wake Forest. The projects were selected from 14 applicants.

The presentations will be given at a work session Monday, Oct. 10.

Under the recommendation:

▪ Cary would receive $1 million for two projects. One at WakeMed Soccer Park would transition fields to artificial turf and add public wireless internet. The other project adds spectator seating, lighting and court resurfacing at Cary Tennis Park. These projects are expected to cost $3.4 million.

▪ Fuquay-Varina would get $500,000 to help fund improvements to Fleming Loop Recreational Park, a 36-acre venue that hosted the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest this year. The town wants to spend $2.68 million on seven fields, lights for the fields, a walking track, parking, picnic shelters and a new concession/restroom building. The park is expected to host the balloon festival again next year

▪ Morrisville would receive $258,000 for lights for the cricket grounds at Church Street Park. The $5.2 million park opened last year and has the only regulation cricket pitch in the region.

Funding requests were reviewed by Wake County staff and professionals, who scored them on a set of criteria, such as having an unmet need in the community, having a mix of funding sources, project readiness and its ability to attract more visitors to the county.

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon

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