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Existing System Overview

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. Within the

City of Raleigh there is 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

Resources 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 been marked

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 a key goal. Currently 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 City of Raleigh and

other guiding plans or documents reviewed includes:

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 a sampling of the Capital Area

Greenway Network found the following successes and


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

A need to streamline the department’s website and

program sign-up process and provide welcome packages

to new residents.

Section 2.7


Summary of Existing

System Overview

2.7 Summary



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