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Chapter Two

existing system overview


With its institutional structure intact, Raleigh embarked

upon a mission of refinement and redefinition of its goals

by hiring a recreational consultant in 1950. The Master Plan

that was prepared provided an exhaustive methodology

using citizen surveys and growth trends to mold the goals of

both parks and recreation elements into an ideal acquisition

and development program. This plan, though not executed

completely, solidified the thinking and planning efforts

that have since become a standard approach. Though

quickly outpaced by growth, the Master Plan completed the

refinement of the city’s mission. In addition to increased

parkland and improved facilities in existing park property,

the plan’s legacy includes defined standards for determining

park needs and a methodology of planning.

In 1960, a new study was completed with a 20-year

projection of parks needs based on nationally accepted

standards. This study launched the footrace of the

Expansion Era, where the need for parks would be

constantly refined in an urgent effort to adapt to rapid

urbanization, which claimed desirable park sites more

rapidly than the city could mobilize to secure them. In

spite of this competition, Raleigh was on the brink of its

greatest park growth in 1969, spurred by citizen demand

and the realization that quick action must be taken

in tandem with growth pressure. In this year the city

published “Raleigh, The Park With a City In It,” an open

space plan for the pending decade.

Old concepts of drainage systems and natural areas as

preservation were dusted off and re-worked in the form

of the “Greenway concept.” The early visions of a parkway

along Crabtree Creek leap-frogged to the Neuse River;

roadway beautification, historic preservation, regional

facilities and even amunicipal golf course became valid and

valued objectives to meet recreation and park goals. New

concepts of land acquisition through subdivision control

tied land preservation to development. Conservation

easements, planned unit developments, joint school/park

programs, and private/public ventures, gained credibility

as methods of trying to stay even with the development

boom. Federal funds supplemented these programs

substantially, with more than one million dollars in

matching funds. More than 20 parks, targeted in areas of

anticipated growth, entered the system during this decade.

The Greenway concept, borne of a 1972 study entitled

Capital Areas Greenway, linked floodway development

and flood control issues brought about by development to

a system of open space preserves and recreational trails.

In 1973 the City Council created a 15-member Raleigh

Greenway Commission to oversee the fledgling program.

These concepts and strategies crystallized in a final

refinement of the parks system in the 1979 Comprehensive

Plan for the City of Raleigh. An element of that plan

refined goals and specified standards, which were further

used to target future park acquisition. The policies of this

plan were used in planning and development of park

programs up to the withdrawal of federal funds in 1981.

City of Raleigh’s Fallon Park, founded 1942

‘Raleigh, The Park With a City In It,’ cover image

2.1.4 Expansion Era