County agrees to greenway funding

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Plans to construct the Lower Neuse Greenway Trail will move forward, as long as the county isn’t subject to city park rules—namely, the city’s new ban on smoking in parks.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners approved an interlocal agreement with Raleigh Monday, the next step in the plan to construct the 28-mile Neuse Greenway from the Falls Lake Dam to the Johnston County line.

The section under discussion extends from Poole Road to just south of the county line. The greenway alignment has been set, the land has been purchased and a contracting firm has been hired to design the trail. But to move forward, the county needed to approve its portion of the funding.

The county’s share of the $12.7 million cost is $8.9 million, which will be paid for with part of a $50 million open space bond previously approved by voters.

Once built, the city of Raleigh will maintain and manage the greenway, which raised some question of whether city park rules would apply to portions of the trail in Wake County.

Specifically, Board Chairman Paul Coble expressed concern about the city’s recently approved smoking ban in public parks, asking if it would apply to the new greenway.

Coble said because it’s an issue the county has not addressed, it would not be fair to apply those rules.

Board members approved the funding, directing the county attorney to make sure the wording in the interlocal agreement ensured that Raleigh’s rules would not apply to the county portions.

The greenway will connect to Wake Forest, Knightdale, Clayton and Raleigh and is scheduled to be complete in 2012.

In other business, board members approved the county reimbursing parking fees for residents who come to speak during the county commission public comment period. The validation will only apply to the Wake County parking deck, 412 S McDowell St. Rates are $1 per hour, with a $10 maximum per day.  There is no set plan on how to carry out the measure, which was proposed during the meeting.

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