The Town of Garner and a national land conservation group are buying 86.5 acres for a future park that will also help protect the county’s drinking water supply.
The wooded land is just southeast of U.S. 401 along a tributary of Swift Creek, upstream of Lake Benson. The lake is a source of drinking water for the City of Raleigh and six other towns that buy water from the city, including Garner.
The land is in an area Garner targeted for future parks in its parks and recreation master plan, which the town adopted in January. It’s also a potential corridor for a greenway trail between the town, Lake Benson and Lake Wheeler, according to town spokesman Rick Mercier.
But that’s all off in the future.
“Our immediate goal was conservation and watershed protection,” Mercier wrote in an email. “We do not have a specific plan for it now.”
‘A rare opportunity’
The Conservation Fund bought the property for just over $1 million, using money from four sources: $400,000 from the Wake County Open Space Bond Program; $300,000 from Raleigh’s Watershed Protection Program; $224,750 from the Town of Garner and $100,000 from the Caterpillar Foundation.
“This project represents a rare opportunity to conserve a large section of undeveloped land in a rapidly urbanizing area that sits within a critical water supply watershed,” Bill Holman, The Conservation Fund’s North Carolina state director, said in a written statement. “Land protection efforts like this are key to a comprehensive strategy for clean water and pollution reduction in the Triangle, and we are pleased to work with the Town of Garner to secure this site for future public recreational access and enjoyment.”
The seller was Kay Boling Singletary of Asheboro, whose family has owned the land since at least the mid-1970s, according to county property records. The deal included about 81 acres of woods and wetlands along the creek, and four building lots off Legend Road.
The land is adjacent to open space owned by the county, Raleigh and the town upstream of Lake Benson.