Volume 16, Number 2
Tuesday night the Wake Forest Town Board agreed to lease 114 acres on the east side of Capital Boulevard just north of the Neuse River and across the highway from the former Burlington Mills factory, now used for U-Haul sales, to the Complex Sports Group.
That group – Steve McKinion, Bobby Murray, Jason McCoy and Jonathan Hayward –plans to build an athletic sports complex that will include an inflatable dome with room for two multi-use athletic fields and fields for baseball, soccer and lacrosse. The fields will be of synthetic turf that will drain within 30 minutes after the heaviest rain storm. The dome will be used for training, strength conditioning and yoga and will have a coffee shop and other amenities.
McKinion, who spoke for the group Tuesday night, said they plan to complete the construction in the first year and be able to offer the facilities for local and regional teams to rent. The town will have the use of the fields on weekdays; the fields and dome will be rented on weekends. McKinion said by year 15 of the lease the town will have benefitted by as much as $15 million because of not having to rent or lease other fields and facilities. “We worked with the town staff for their needs,” he said.
Because it will draw over a million visitors to town for regional, national and even international tournaments and other activities – trade shows, small concerts – McKimmon said the town should experience an economic effect between $10 and $15 million each year. There will be five fulltime employees and 20 parttime.
“We’re really excited about this,” Mayor Vivian Jones said.
Commissioner Jim Thompson said he hoped the group will made a connection to the Neuse River Greenway.
John Behringer, the treasurer for the Shearon Farms Homeowners Association, threw at least a bucket of cold water on the plans by pointing out how difficult it will be to get the teams and visitors to the complex given the traffic conditions on Capital Boulevard at all daylight hours and the two rush hours. He also noted the complex with its lights and noise will be “only a few hundred feet” from homes in the subdivision. He offered to help them find another location. “I love the idea but it’s just not in the right spot.”
The board voted unanimously for the lease.
It was also a unanimous vote to declare the old cemetery owned by Friendship Chapel Missionary Baptist Church a locally historic landmark. The 1.64-acre cemetery is on the edge of the Holding Village subdivision and contains about 570 graves including one mass grave used as a last resort when there were so many deaths during the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918. The church maintains the cemetery but uses a newer cemetery now for burials.
Senior Planner Michelle Michael said the town’s Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously on Nov. 8 to recommend the board make the designation and showed a number of photographs illustrating the 16 remaining headstones and the condition of the cemetery. A committee from the Wake Forest Historical Association obtained a grant and contracted with used it for a ground-penetrating radar study to identify graves. The cemetery will be fenced and a sign will inform visitors of its significance.
The newly elected commissioners, Liz Simpers and Bridget Wall-Lennon, were present. They and the re-elected mayor, Vivian Jones, will take their oaths of office after the Dec. 19 board meeting.