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Existing System Overview

An overview of existing conditions was conducted in order

to obtain an understanding of the physical, aesthetic and

social characteristics of the existing City of Raleigh Parks,

Recreation and Cultural Resources System. Taken as a whole,

the system has a number of successes and opportunities. As

of 2014, the City of Raleigh operates a diverse system of

over 128 parks, 47 staffed and non-staffed centers, 4 nature

preserves, 9 public swimming pools, 82 open spaces, 2,150

programs, 104 miles of greenway trails, approximately 9,829

acres of parks and greenways, and 1.1 million square feet of

park facilities with an average facility age of 38 years.

History of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Re-

sources in Raleigh

The history of Raleigh parks can be organized into five


The Formative Period



and Refinement

(1942-1970); the

Expansion Era


1981); the

Open Space Era

(1982 – 2004); and the present

Collaborative Era

(2004 to present), which has beenmarked

with further expansion of services and responsibilities for

the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department.

City-wide Integration

Integration of the System Plan with adopted or on-going

plans, studies and policies is vital. There are two levels

of influencing documents: city and regional plans and

ordinances and area or facility specific plans or studies.

A sampling of significant guiding plans or documents

reviewed include:

2030 Comprehensive Plan (2009)

Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) 2013

Bicycle Transportation Plan (2009)

CAT and Wake County Transit Plans

Senior Center Feasibility Study

Strategic Plan for Historic Cemeteries

Aquatics Facilities Study

Capital Area Greenway Master Plan Update (1989)

Population and Demographic Overview

The City of Raleigh is growing and diversifying. The

city needs to catch up to its past population growth and

ensure that it is meeting the parks, recreation and cultural

resource needs of its current residents equitably. At the

same time, it is imperative that the city plans for future

growth by acquiring additional parkland in advance of

growth, particularly in urbanizing areas.

Existing Parks and Facilities Overview

An observational review of a sampling of the City of Raleigh’s

existing parks and facilities found the following successes

and opportunities:

Existing Greenways System Overview

Observational reviews of the Capital Area Greenway

Network found the following successes and opportunities:

Existing Programs and Services Overview

A review of existing programs and services offered by the

Department found the following highlights:

Successful operation of 11 core programs areas;

Emphasis on arts, fitness and social programming;

A healthy mix of programs at various life cycle stages;

An equitable mix of programs for various age groups;

Currently extensive use of printed material (Leisure

Ledger) and the department’s website for marketing

information; and

Streamline the department’s website and program sign-up.



Diverse user experience

Wayfinding for health and

economic vitality

Navigation and wayfinding

Closing gaps and identifying


Connectivity and access

Programming and economic




Making parks green through


Leading by example with

stormwater management

Appearance factor of maintenance Economics of program flexibility

Increased use by connectivity

Universal accessibility

Making parks last with high quality

Leading with wayfinding