Is Wake County Ignoring Affordable Housing and Schools to Buy a Golf Course?

By Brent Woodcox

A few months ago, Wake County commissioners were considering bailing out a failing golf course in a Fuquay-Varina neighborhood to turn it into a county park.

Wake County leaders are at odds over whether it’s a good deal for taxpayers to make a county park out of the failed Crooked Creek Golf Course in Fuquay-Varina. ...

Depending on whom you ask, buying the golf course is either an unprecedented chance to create a great facility for the area or as an excessive expenditure that’s not part of the county’s parks master plan and money that would be better spent elsewhere.

Commissioners Matt Calabria, in whose district the course lies, and Sig Hutchinson, the board chairman and a major backer of open spaces, both strongly support the project. A no vote seems probable from Commissioner Jessica Holmes and reasonably likely from Commissioner Greg Ford. The pair voted this spring against a county budget that gave Wake County Public Schools less than half the system’s request for new money in 2017–18.

“We just told the school system that we have no additional funds available to them,” Holmes says. “We’re also in an affordable housing crisis. I would have to believe that Wake County citizens would put this park, in a middle-class community’s backyard, pretty far down the totem pole.”

The nonprofit Conservation Trust is on the hook to pay roughly $4 million for the land, to be bought by Wake within a few years under a deal that’s yet to be struck. A Wake County staff email to commissioners puts the park’s development costs at as much as $15.3 million, startup costs at as much as $171,000, and yearly upkeep between $271,000 and $383,000 annually. ...
— Thomas Goldsmith - Indy Week

Now I'm being told that the Wake County Board of Commissioners could have a vote as soon as today about moving forward with the controversial golf course bailout plan.

Keep in mind that this is a board that has recently underfunded our schools by $24 million.

This is a county commission that has not identified a funding source for the 150,000 units of additional affordable housing that is projected as a need in Wake County over the next 20 years.

This is a group of politicians who have said the county cannot afford to comply with state laws dictating a reduction in class size to help our students in grades K-3 learn to read.

Now they want to buy a failed golf course?

These priorities aren't only wrong for Raleigh. They're immoral.

Families struggling to find affordable housing have enough problems without a county commission that would rather spend desperately needed funds to bail out people who bought homes on the 18th green.

Students in danger of falling behind have enough challenges without local politicians who actively conspiring to squander the tax dollars that could be used to help them get ahead.

If you disagree with the golf course bailout plan, call or email your county commissioner today and tell them that Wake County deserves better.

Brent WoodcoxComment