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Existing System Overview

City of Raleigh’s Brier Creek Community Center

Photo to be inserted

City of Raleigh’s Laurel Hills Park

existing system overview


During the Open Space Era, the City of Raleigh more than

doubled in land mass and population, taxing the parks,

recreation and cultural system infrastructure responding

to the rapid growth. The focus of the department was

to retain the level of services throughout the city while

expanding in geography. This required the addition of

numerous parks and acreage to the system, primarily in

the northwest, northeast and eastern areas of Raleigh.

Standards were adopted to ensure services were offered

equitably throughout the city with utilization of a park

classification system: mini park; neighborhood park;

community park; metro park; nature preserve and special.

Since 1982 Raleigh has been solely responsible for the

acquisition, funding, and development of its Parks

Program. Intense competition for valuable Federal funds

has become the norm and the city must continually look

for creative ways in which to obtain funding. Due to

accelerated growth, the continued exploration of creative

means to finance future park acquisition and development

still persists. As a result, the City’s Facility Fee Program

was designed to collect fees from developers to directly

assist with the purchase of new parklands and to bolster

park development in pace with the city’s expansion.

Another vital element of parks and recreation funding in

recent decades has been the use of publicly-supported and

funded bond referendums. In 1984, the city committed

itself to its future parks program with the passage of

an $8 million bond program. In 1987, a $10 million

bond was approved and used to develop a year-round

aquatics facility, softball complex and three new major

parks. Since then, through bond referendums, citizens

have encouraged continued growth of a wide variety of

parks and recreation facilities. Citizen desires continue

to be represented through the City Council appointed

Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board. In

1995, citizens of Raleigh passed a $28 million bond

referendum. In 2000, a $16 million bond for parks system

improvements, investments and land acquisition was

passed, and in 2003 a $47 million bond was approved for

park system development.

The last 10 years has been marked with further expansion

of services and responsibilities for the City of Raleigh

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department,

including an $88 million bond for parks and greenway

projects in 2007. Several collaborative efforts have been

undertaken by the city in an attempt to keep pace with

growth, provide a broad spectrum of parks, recreation

and cultural resource opportunities at a reasonable cost

to the city. Through partnerships with the Wake County

Public School System, two major community centers were

built, Brier Creek and Barwell Road, both of which serve

as models for leveraging public services and investments.

The city continues to lead themajor efforts ingreenway trail

system development by partnering with other municipal

jurisdictions including Wake Forest and Knightdale on

2.1.5 Open Space Era


2.1.6 Collaborative Era

(2005 - present)