MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The Triangle’s lush greenery and award-winning trails are two assets leaders and thousands of residents want to expand and maintain.
But like others in the region, Raleigh-Durham International Airport could change the landscape with development.
Two companies, Wake Stone Corporation and the Conservation Fund, as well as Wake County officials, presented options to develop 105 acres of airport land at Odd Fellows, which neighbors Umstead Park.
“Friends, it’s time to live into the greatness that we are as a community and be the best recreational wonderland, the best international airport in America and talk about how these two amazing assets can work synergistically for the betterment of our community and our partner,” said Sig Hutchinson, the Wake County Commissioner Chair.
Wake County’s proposal preserves the land with recreational development, the only current option David Anderson, of Triangle Off-Road Cyclists, supports.
“I think what we need to be asking ourselves why would we choose an alternative, a permanent destruction of the land for a query in such a heavily-used recreational area when we don’t have to do that,” Anderson said.
Wake Stone Corporation’s proposal is a lease-to-sell option to mine the property. Conservation Fund’s proposal is a sale option with an initial offer of nearly $6 million, which would include office and hotel development.
The RDU Airport Authority can’t approve a sale, only the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can, but the board can lease. In order to do that, any proposal must be compatible to airport use.
“I truly believe what’s in the best interest of the (RDU Airport) Authority will be in the best interest of the community and I hope that long-term we can all achieve a win-win solution,” said Michael Landguth, the president and CEO of RDU.
Officials say no final decision will be made immediately.