Eastern Wake News

Knightdale prepares to take on arboretum volunteers

Town Council agreed to follow a process drafted by town staff to create one of the last pieces of Knightdale Station Park, potentially with volunteers.

Parks and Recreation Director Tina Cheek, with the help of former mayor Billy Wilder, who sold the land the park and arboretum are on, came up with a process to get the arboretum created with the help of volunteers who may take on the job of designing and furnishing the arboretum’s rooms.

The arboretum will also be dedicated to Wilder.

The Parks and Recreation department suggested an arboretum a few months ago and said it may be possible to use volunteers to do some of the lighter work. It would save the town money and encourage residents to get involved.

Cheek said the possibility of bringing on volunteers is why the agreement needs to be in place— it sets clear expectations for all parties involved.

“As a town project ... with internal and external stakeholders, it is important that an agreed upon process is followed to ensure that the project is designed and consructed to a standard that can be easily constructed and maintained for years to come,” the agreement reads.

The town budgeted $50,000 in fiscal year 2015 for the arboretum’s design and master plan, but that money doesn’t leave much room to construct the feature.

Each room will need to have its own plan submitted and approved by staff, the agreement said.

Any organization or person taking over a garden or room has to tell the town of any trails, grading and irrigaton plans, plant species and location and a timeline.

Staff will approve that and then the garden plan will come before council for final approval.

The organization or entity will have the option to put their name on the room or garden and can provide maintenance to the area as well.

According to the agreement, the town will be responsible for major design and construction on the site, like parking, utilities, fencing and major entryway landscaping.

Once the bones of the arboretum are built by the town, the town can continue on with themed rooms as funding allows, or bring on volunteers who could sponsor the rooms, like companies and individuals can do with other features of the park.