From the Wake County Government: By Stephen R. Walston
The Wake County Board of Commissioners took two steps at its regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 21, to preserve open space, build greenways and ensure residents have access to both.
Open Space and Greenways Request for Proposals
Local municipalities and nonprofit organizations can once again apply for county funds to develop greenways and acquire open space, a process which has protected thousands of acres of land over the past five years.
The board voted to allow staff to proceed with the Open Space and Greenways Request for Projects process. Money from the $120 million Parks, Greenways, Recreation and Open Space bond approved by voters in 2018 will be used to fund the projects, which will be chosen based on several factors.
“Protecting open space is among our top priorities as a board, and when we can partner with our municipalities and other organizations to do so it is a win-win for everyone,” said Jessica Holmes, chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “We look forward to making good on our community’s commitment to use the funds from the voter-approved bond to benefit residents throughout Wake County.”
When evaluating proposals, county staff will look at factors like how the project fits into current open space or greenway master plans; how it will be used; and how the applicant would partner with the county.
The county began using the Request for Proposals process in 2012 and has since partnered with all 12 municipalities. Through four subsequent RFP processes, the county has partnered 25 acquisitions totaling 2,699 acres and eight greenway partnerships equaling 15.7 miles.
Organizations interested in learning more about the process can contact Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Director Chris Snow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10-minute Walk to a Park
Commissioners also voted to support the national “10-minute Walk to a Park” campaign, which is led by the Trust for Public Land, the Urban Land Institute and the National Recreation and Parks Association.
The goal of the effort is to ensure that everyone in U.S. cities has access to a quality park or green space within a 10-minute walk from their home by 2050.
The county launched a social media campaign to support National Walk to a Park Day on Oct. 10. The campaign included posts about the Park Locator, which was developed in 2018 and includes all state, county and city parks in Wake County. Users can filter through parks to find the one closest to their location. Access the park locator at wakegov.com/parklocator.
Learn more about this initiative at 10minutewalk.org.
Both actions support the board’s goal of implementing a comprehensive approach for preserving open space and developing parks and greenways to address gaps, leverage opportunities and resources, and enhance collaboration with municipal partners.
About Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space
Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space strives to provide outdoor recreation and educational opportunities while promoting environmental and cultural stewardship through a managed system of parks and open spaces. In 2018, more than 1.3 million people visited Wake County’s 10 parks and nature preserves.
This press release was produced by the Wake County Government. The views expressed here are the author’s own.