Park bond passes by wide margin

Nov. 08, 2012 @ 08:14 AM

Tuesday, Indian Trail voters approved a bond to build parks.
A total of 8,221 people, 58.9 percent of the cast ballots, were in favor of the town borrowing $8.5 million to begin construction on municipal parks. That amount would spur development of two large parks with amenities like an athletic complex, dog park, playgrounds, disk golf and walking trails.
Indian Trail Council members Christopher King and Darlene Luther organized a group, Indian Trail Citizens for a Healthy and Vibrant Community, to tell voters about the town's plan for such a referendum.
"I'm excited obviously," King said. "We worked hard to get this bond passed."
Second chances are rare in government, he said. A similar bond for $4.5 million went to Indian Trail voters in 2011, but lost by only 97 votes.
"I was convinced then that it failed because the voters were not informed about the bond," King said. "This time, we got more information out there for the voters and we got about another 3,000 votes."
Now that the voters had their say, King said the town council will likely not begin serious planning on the two parks - one 51-acre park on Matthews-Indian Trail Road, and another 141-acre tract for sale on N.C. Highway 74 at South Fork Crooked Creek - until early 2013.
"I think it would be disrespectful to come into the next council meeting ready to start these projects," King said. "There were a lot of people who fought hard against the bond. I think I'd prefer to wait until after the holidays to talk about the next steps."
Mark Wireman, who lead a group of Indian Trail residents opposed to the park bond could not comment Wednesday due to recent health problems, but said he would be happy to speak about the bond later.
King said that critics raised valid points about the park bond, such as the cluttered roads around Indian Trail that need work. King said roads will be his next focus, concentrating on Wesley Chapel-Stouts Road which needs attention as soon as possible.
Critics also discussed the extra expense of making regular debt payments. In July, the town council approved a tax increase to fund capitol projects such as parks. That will be the only tax increase town residents will see until his term ends, King said.
"There will not be a tax increase between now and then," he said. "If anyone on the council even mentions a tax increase, I will shut it down."