BY RICHARD STRADLING
The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority has received two offers to lease 105 acres of airport land near Umstead State Park: one from a conservation group that wants to preserve the land, and another from a stone company that wants to dig it up.
Wake Stone Corp. already operates a quarry next to the airport’s property, just south of William B. Umstead State Park, and proposes opening a new stone quarry on airport land that would operate for 25 to 30 years. The company says after the quarry shuts down, the property could be used for recreation, including hiking and fishing.
Meanwhile, The Conservation Fund, a national environmental organization, says the offer it made this summer to buy the 105 acres for $6.46 million still stands. But this week it also proposed to lease the property or to lease/purchase it over five years for $6.8 million.
Sig Hutchinson, chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, told authority members that this was a chance to create a “recreational wonderland” in the middle of a growing region.
“This is not only our opportunity, this is our destiny, our legacy,” he said.