The Town Council’s finance committee last week discussed whether funds originally budgeted to build a water tower sign should be used to build a stage at Knightdale Station Park near the shelters instead.
The town originally was to use funds from a $400,000 North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, or PARTF, grant to build the water tower as a gateway to and sign for the park, but town staff told the committee that as long as the town uses part of those funds to build some kind of water feature it can use the rest on other park amenities.
The Parks and Recreation Department had come into the meeting looking to use $9,000 of the PARTF grant for a portable stage, but the town would still have to rent a larger stage for larger events such as the July 4th celebration, department head Tina Cheek said.
Committee co-chairman and council member Pete Mangum said he would rather have the town build a permanent stage. “We’re ready for that,” he said. “We’re scheduling events on a regular basis.”
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Mangum then asked if the water misting stations that were to be built along with the tower could be built without the tower and if would that satisfy the water feature for the PARTF grant.
“When I look at that part of the park, it doesn’t feel incomplete,” Mangum said. A stage, he said, “completes that area more” than a water tower.
Development Services director Chris Hills said the staff has had similar conversations.
“I think a lot of people,” he said, “have gotten water tower confused with water feature, and I think that we could just as easily put ‘misters’ on the ends of the shelters” to meet the water feature requirement of the PARTF grant.
Hills said estimates to build the water tower came in much higher than what town officials initially expected.
Town manager Seth Lawless said the town would need to look at stage designs and figure out how big it wants to build one in order to get an idea of the cost.
Cheek said her department has begun looking at what it took to build stages such as the one at North Hills shopping center in midtown Raleigh.
“That’s almost going to be a showpiece out there,” Cheek said of a potential stage at Knightdale Station Park, “because when you drive in you’re going to see that stage.”
“It’s a huge piece of a sense of place,” Hills said.
The committee also talked about getting a portable stage for smaller events and having a second stage for larger events at Knightdale Station Park.
There was also discussion of adding picnic tables near the shelters and what maintenance that would require.
The parks and rec department is also requesting purchase of a Ford pickup for next fiscal year. The department doesn’t have a vehicle now, Cheek said, and employees are putting a lot of mileage on their own cars.
Mayor James Roberson suggested looking at a used truck still under warranty to save a few thousand dollars.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826