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Chapter Three

84

needs and priorities assessment

In order to better understand the priorities that the City

of Raleigh’s elected officials are facing, the consultant

team conducted a series of 11 interviews with the mayor,

city council members, the city manager, an assistant city

manager and various city department leaders. Each

interviewee was asked a series of questions regarding

the issues they are hearing from constituents throughout

their district or the city, thoughts on comparable cities

or regions, and potential implementation strategies for

improvements or enhancements to the parks, recreation

and cultural resources system. Responses were recorded

by the consultant team and coded to identify consistent

themes. The following are themes compiled from all 11

interviews:

Needs and Priorities:

• 5 of the 11 interviewees mentioned the need for new

neighborhood, “walk-to” or “pocket” parks in under-

served areas (this is related to the equity issue below;

a total of 9 interviewees mentioned either “equity”,

“walkability” or “new neighborhood/pocket/ walk-

to” parks);

• 7 of the 11 interviewees said that they do not get

calls from dissatisfied or under-served constituents,

or hear much about the need for new sports or

recreation facilities;

• 6 of the 11 interviewees mentioned the need to

update or expand existing parks, recreation and

cultural resource facilities, with an emphasis

on expanded amenities and programs (such as

bathrooms, safer play equipment, lighting, air

conditioning in gyms, computers with internet

access, after school programs, expanded weekend/

Sunday hours for community centers, historical

exhibits);

• 7 of the 11 interviewees mentioned the need to start

planning for Dorothea Dix Park;

• 6 of the 11 interviewees discussed the need to

expand, complete and/or connect the greenways,

trails and sidewalk system for transportation as well

as recreation; the need to improve the “wayfinding”

system was also mentioned;

• 4 of the 11 interviewees discussed the need for equity

in the geographic distribution of recreation facilities

across the city (as mentioned above);

• 4 of the 11 interviewees discussed the need to serve

an aging population and/or the need for new senior

centers, including one in southeast Raleigh;

• 4 of the 11 interviewees discussed the need for urban

parks in the downtown/ redevelopment areas to

accommodate the growing urban population. Several

noted that urban parks serve a different function

than suburban parks and should be planned and

designed differently. They also discussed the need for

“vehicle” or “mechanism” to create these spaces as

redevelopment occurs;

• 3 of the 11 interviewees mentioned the need for

“special use” sports venues – including an aquatics

center, tournament athletics facility, and a velodrome

- to serve the local population and to attract sports

tourism. It was also mentioned that the high use of

competition sports facilities are “forcing people out”

of traditional recreational parks;

• 2 of the 11 interviewees mentioned the need for joint

planning and use with Wake County Schools and

Parks;

• Other needs mentioned by interviewees included:

arts, culture and historic preservation; more diversity

and inclusiveness, particularly focusing on the needs

of the Hispanic community; “branding” the City of

Raleigh; and maintaining the legacy and character of

a “City within a park;”

• A focus on maintenance needs was also mentioned

by interviewees.

Funding/ Implementation:

• 9 of the 11 interviewees stated that voter-approved

bond referendums have historically been successful

in Raleigh and would be the preferred funding

mechanism for proposed parks, recreation and

cultural resources system improvements;

• 8 of the 11 interviewees also mentioned impact

fees as a traditional funding tool; however several

interviewees cautioned against increasing the

amount of current park impact fee rates;

• Several interviewees also mentioned the general

fund, grants, partnerships with schools and

businesses, and/or the use of special assessments

and taxing districts such as Business Improvement

3.1.3 Stakeholder Interviews