Many are coming together to express support for a project to turn the former Wake County Golf Course into a park

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FUQUAY-VARINA, NJ (WNCN) – Local leaders and residents of southern Wake County met Thursday in Fuquay-Varina to speak in support of the South Wake Park project. They want to see the old Crooked Creek golf course in a park.

They also stood up against a proposal from the Wake County commissioners that is expected to vote at a meeting Monday to sell the property. Wake County Commissioner Greg Ford said the proposal would declare surplus property and put it on sale immediately.

"We want a park here where we can walk safely," said Ron Nawojczyk, South Wake Park Project Manager, at a press conference held Thursday afternoon.

Among the people who gathered Thursday for the property was Marvin Smith, a 91-year-old World War II veteran who lives nearby.

"I have been blessed beyond measure," Smith said. "I always try to walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week."

Gina Gianelli said she wanted to visit a park one day, especially after learning that her breast cancer had spread.

"All I can do is eat and exercise," Gianelli said.

Wake County spent $ 4 million to buy the old golf course and turn it into a park.

Ford added that he thought the newly elected Wake County Council of Commissioners should step in on this issue.

"The younger generation, and my great-grandchildren in particular, need a place where they can come to walk, play and ride a bike," Smith said. "There is not one available."

Ford released this statement on Facebook Thursday afternoon:

Citizens of Wake County,

This afternoon, at my request, the county staff approved the final documents in preparation for Monday's Council of Commissioners meeting, during which I will present my previously shared motion asking our new council to correct the controversial decision. taken by simple majority by a single vote of the old council. failed, private golf course in the middle of the Crooked Creek Subdivision with the hope of turning it into a future county park.

Click here for more details on the language of this motion and the important supporting documents.

Wake County will continue its commitment to invest heavily in our future and in an excellent quality of life through our strong program of parks, green spaces and greenways. We will also build on Wake's strong track record of maintaining quality open spaces and advancing existing park projects with unanimous approval from the County Board of Directors and staff – a record which was tarnished by the controversial purchase of the Crooked Creek purchase last year, which was conducted in the middle of the 2018 political election year.

In the end, Wake County voters overwhelmingly supported the Bond & Open Space Bond in 2018 – but they also removed two of the four pro-Crooked Creek commissioners. Both results form the basis of a powerful statement from the citizens of Wake County: While park and open space projects are of great value to our entire community, taxpayers' rescue of a private golf course bankruptcy in the middle of a residential area was wrong – and this needs to be fixed.

The current council of commissioners, who has just been elected or re-elected, is right to abide by the Wake County election results and address the question of the questionable purchase of Crooked Creek. My motion presented on Monday offers the Office the opportunity to take stock of Crooked Creek – in one way or another, before devoting more time and money to it. the taxes on this controversial project. I remain confident that this commission will do what is required this time and respect the wishes of the voters and the well-established processes of good governance in the county.

Meanwhile, those living in southern Wake County, like Gianelli, hope to see a park come true.

"We will fight, and fight, and fight that," said Gianelli. "By God, I hope that I will be alive more than tomorrow, next week or next year.I want to be here and celebrate the opening, and go there, I will walk all days."

The county commission must meet and vote on the proposal Monday at 5 pm at the Wake County Justice Center.