This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was happening in eastern Wake County.
Knightdale was on the cusp of significant retail expansion and one property owner was hoping to keep up. One Knightdale police officer was concerned with growth of another kind, while in Zebulon there were folks interesting growing schools through passage of a school bond.
Knightdale has become the shopping mecca of eastern Wake County in the last decade. Ten years ago, the owners of one shopping center were looking for permission from the town of Knightdale to improve their shopping destination.
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“With all the talk of major commercial projects planned for the not-too-distant future, one developer would like to give an old Knightdale Boulevard shopping center a facelift.
“The Steeple Square strip mall, home to Food Lion and several smaller tenants, will make room for improvements. Owner York Properties has plans to add another building at the site to host several small storefronts.
“We’re going to try to make it a lot friendlier to the neighborhood,” said York’s Hal Worth. “We’re going to make business better for the tenants and make the whole project a better fit for the town.
“Worth said the company has contacted tenants about possible facade changes. He expects the project to be complete by next year, pending necessary approvals from the Town Council.”
Sometimes police catch bad guys speeding down the highway. Other times they catch expectant mothers speeding down the highway. That was the case this week in Knightdale 25 years ago.
“Thursday evening was like any other for Sgt. Skip Blaylock of the Knightdale Police Department. He answered a few calls, arrested a man for drunk driving, looked after the town.
“Things picked up a couple hours after midnight when the officer helped deliver a baby on U.S. 64. The grandmother of the child is Marilyn Best of Zebulon.
“Cruising along in his patrol car, Blaylock spotted a late-model Toyota as it whizzed past him a little before 2 a.m. When he gave chase, he did not even consider that he might have to help out wit ha childbirth. He thought he was after a speeder – plain and simple.
“Blaylock spotted the car around the intersection of U.S. 64 and Smithfield Road. It took him several miles, all the way to Milburnie Road to overtake the vehicle. When he approached, the driver explained to the officer that a pregnant woman was going into labor in the passenger seat. Before lending assistance, Blaylock called the Knightdale Rescue Squad – he then did what he could do to assist the couple.
“When the ambulance arrived, the baby was breathing normally. The baby was transported to Wake Medical Center where it and the mother recovered.
“Blaylock said he did not give the driver a speeding ticket.”
School bonds are contentious things these days, but chambers of commerce often support the measure as a means of improving one of Wake County’s chief economic development calling cards. Bonds aren’t new though. The Zebulon Chamber of Commerce went on record 50 years ago this week in support of an $8.4 million bond even though the plans did not call for any new school construction in Zebulon.
“Full support of the proposed scool bond issue for Wake County and Raleigh schools was pledged Monday afternoon by the Board of Directors of the Zebulon Chamber of Commerce. By unanimous vote, the directors passed a resolution endorsing the bonds and urged an affirmative vote by the registered voters of Wake County in the bond election set for Dec. 11.
“Chamber president M.L. Hagwood invited Wake County school board member Ferd Davis to explain the need of the bond issue and answer questions posed by the chamber of commerce.
“After extensive discussion, and consideration of the proposal, the directors enthusiastically passed a resolution of support and promised full support for the bonds.”
The bond passed the following month.