Published: Jan 08, 2013 03:33 PM
Modified: Jan 08, 2013 03:33 PM
CARY - Town leaders are expected to vote Thursday on a proposal
to build a sizable western Cary park, but not everyone is happy about the plans.
Carpenter Neighborhood Park will cover 16 acres at the southeast corner of Morrisville Carpenter Road and Louis Stephens Drive
, and it could include a community garden, a playground, a basketball court and walking paths.
The worry among some neighbors is that the $3.2 million parks popularity could put excessive traffic on Carpenter Town Lane, a subdivision street that town staff want to use as an entryway to the park.
Critics of that idea have made their case for months, saying that drivers entering the park through their neighborhood could be dangerous to pedestrians and could harm property values, among other concerns.
Its just going to add a lot of confusion and a potential for accidents, said Jim Wallace, a financial consultant who lives a door down from the proposed secondary park entrance.
Town staff say the small road will make a safer entrance for the parks main audience: residents of Carpenter Village and the adjoining neighborhoods, who would be able to drive from their subdivisions straight into the park.
Without this access point off of Carpenter Town Lane, people who want (to) access the park would have to travel to a major road, town staff wrote in a report. Town rules also require connectivity between facilities and neighborhoods, and, in general, a second access point is valuable, staff wrote.
The council on Thursday will decide between three options: make Carpenter Town Lane a full entrance to the park; install an entrance on the neighborhood road, but block it off with bollards; or skip the Carpenter Town Lane entrance altogether, leaving only the Louis Stephens Drive access.
The parks advisory board sided overwhelmingly with the neighbors in opposition to a Carpenter Town Lane entrance, but town council members are split on the issue. On Dec. 20, the planning and development committee, which is made up of council members, voted 2-1 in favor of keeping the neighborhood road access.
I do not want another instance where we have somebody get killed in an accident, said Councilman Don Frantz, who favors Carpenter Town Lane as a secondary entrance.
Councilman Ed Yerha voted against the neighborhood park access. He said he hasnt seen conclusive evidence that the second entrance would be easier or safer for drivers.
Two accesses I guess are better than one, and three are better than two, but to purposefully want to drive traffic from outside the neighborhood into the neighborhood just doesnt make sense, Yerha said.
He anticipates the question will prompt much discussion among the council at the Thursday meeting. Should the governing board approve plans for the park, it could begin construction by mid-2014.
And as the town moves forward with bond-funded parks projects, several more neighborhoods will wrestle with the perks and bothers of a local park.