After years of planning and delay, funding for renovations at Moore Square Park may finally have been realized.
Raleigh City Councilors Tuesday approved the use of general obligation bonds to finance upgrades to the park, which have been in the works for almost five years. The city has $15.3 million in bond capacity, $12.6 million of which would be used to fund the park project. The remaining $2.7 million would be used to fund upgrades at an aging fire station off of Oberlin Road.
Councilors will still have to hold a public hearing and a final vote before moving forward.
While Councilors are generally in favor of using bond funding to begin the upgrades, some were concerned about the cost. A preliminary design of the park would include bathrooms, a plaza and a cafe.
“It’s beyond me why we need to spend so much money to have a first-rate experience at Moore Square,” said Councilor Thomas Crowder.
Crowder said that bathrooms and a cafe aren’t necessary and the businesses around the park should provide those amenities. Renovations at Pullen Park, he said, only cost $6.3 million.
By reducing the cost, the bond funding could pay for projects at other parks throughout the city.
Councilors Wayne Maiorano and Bonner Gaylord echoed Crowder’s comments. Maiorano added that he thinks the costs should be scrutinized, but the economic development potential in the area is justification for big improvements.
As reported in the News & Observer, Councilors are currently considering a parks bond referendum in November that would range between $39 million and $109 million. Moore Square was originally slated to be one of the projects included. Other projects will take its place.
If given final approval, using the general obligation bond funding would not require a tax increase. A parks bond in November, however, would result in a tax increase.