As Holly Springs residents head to the polls this Nov., one issue they will be voting on is the Holly Springs Parks Bond. On Nov. 8, Holly Springs residents will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not the community wishes to support a $20 million parks and recreation bond referendum.
If the voters support the bond referendum, the money will be used for several projects over a period of several years.
“As proposed, the funds will be used over a span of several years to complete Jones Park and Womble Park, purchase and develop new park land, complete greenway connections, build stand-alone gymnasiums, update the Parks and Recreation Department master plan, and build a dog park,” a statement in the Town’s newsletter said.
If the bond referendum is approved by the voters, the first phase of the parks and recreation expansion will occur between 2012-2015. According to statements released by town officials, the town hopes to purchase between 100 and 150 acres of land, develop new parks, construct a stand-alone gym and complete Jones Park and Womble Park during the first phase. During this phase, town officials also hope to complete 1.5 miles of greenway at Bass Lake and Womble Loop. The cost of the first phase is projected to cost $13,050,000.
If the referendum passes, the second phase would be completed between 2015-2018. In the second phase, town officials plan to construct another stand-alone gym, complete the second phase of greenways at Western and N.E. trails, construct a dog park, update the parks and recreation master plan and invest $2,000,000 in park development. The total cost of the second phase would be $6,950,000.
Residents have the opportunity to learn more about how town officials are planning to use the funds if the bond passes.
On Sept. 12, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. a Parks Bond Charrette will be held at the Cultural Center and on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. residents can get information at the Farmer’s Market at 7 p.m. located at the Town Hall.
Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears said he hopes voters support the park bond referendum during the upcoming election. He said he supports the referendum for many reasons. He said the bond would bring a lot of possibilities to the area.
“I, of course, do support the park bond for many reasons,” Sears said. “Some would include adding to our current number of parks, planning for the possibilities of a dog park, a skateboard park, a splash park, more soccer fields, tennis courts, and much more.”
Sears said as the town continues to grow, it must meet the needs of the community in the area of parks and recreation.
“As we continue to grow (now about 26,000 citizens), the need for these type facilities will also continue to grow.”
He said some may question the steep price of the bond during these tough economic times. However, Sears said the time is now to make the investment.
“One point for those who aren’t sure of their support, the bond issue in the current economic times might be questioned. However, looking to the future, the time is now and again, all the money does not have to be invested all at one time.”
Sears is not the only one in support of the referendum. Holly Springs Public Information Officer Mark Andrews said the town staff also hopes the referendum passes in Nov. However, he said the ultimate decision is in the hands of the voters.
“From the Town staff perspective, the bond has advantages as the way to pay for recreational facilities and programs that Holly Springs’ citizens have told us they want,” Andrews said. “The demand is great and growing. We’ll continue sharing information about the bond package and getting feedback. On Election Day, the voters get to say where we go from here.”
Holly Springs Town Councilman Chet VanFossen said he also supports the referendum on several levels.
“As a councilman and citizen of Holly Springs I do support the bond. From a citizen’s perspective it will allow the town to keep up with the growing demand for recreation space and activities. Like most citizens I want it all and I want it now, “VanFossen said.
“As a Councilman I support the referendum because I would not pass any kind of tax increase without the support of the people who work and live in Holly Springs. The referendum gives the opportunity for the people who will ultimately be footing the bill for this to have a say.”
Holly Springs Councilwoman Linda Hunt Williams said if approved the project would better the quality of life in Holly Springs.
“All of these potential projects will increase our quality of life here in Holly Springs and enhance our economic growth,” Williams said. “As a Councilwoman, I do believe if we vote to accept this park bond that we must be very careful that we don’t overload our Town’s or citizen’s budget in these uncertain economic times. Any rise in taxes for on our citizens will be less money going into our growing local economy. It is imperative that we do projects over time and when we can afford to do them. This parks bond will just give us financial options when the time is right. If the parks bond is accepted by the citizens, the Town Council—relative to individual projects—must ask what our families are asking themselves about their financial decisions—do we need it or just want it.”