The North Wake Landfill site was established as a municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill more than 20 years ago to serve Wake County’s solid waste disposal needs. The original MSW landfill cell was an unlined facility that was closed in 1998 when new regulations required that MSW landfills be constructed with a liner. A new, lined MSW landfill cell was constructed adjacent to the old landfill; this landfill area reached capacity in 2008 and is now closed.
Other significant functions at the site are a closed construction and demolition debris landfill; landfill gas collection systems; a multimaterial recycling facility that collects items such as tires, motor oil and white goods; a convenience drop-off center for citizens to dispose of solid waste; a household hazardous waste collection center; various County buildings not associated with the solid waste function; and a large borrow area dedicated to providing soil for daily cover at the active landfill. Intertwined among these functions are areas of open space.
At the time the site was first used for solid waste disposal, the area was sparsely populated and posed few, if any, problems to neighbors. As the County's population grew and spread, both residential and commercial development began to occur around the landfill site. The natural result of a growing population is a growing waste stream. The increasing residential and commercial development and increasing size of the landfill set the stage for a clash of seemingly incompatible land uses; however, as the landfill closed and disposal operations ceased, it became well recognized in the community that a good opportunity existed to turn the landfill area into a community asset beneficial to a wide range of citizens. The landfill was a community asset, albeit sometimes unrecognized as such.
Closed landfills have been converted to alternate uses for many years. In March 2004 the North Wake Landfill Citizens Committee (NWLFCC) was formed as part of the post-closure planning process to solicit opinions of the citizens living in the area as to how the site would ultimately be used after it ceased to function as an active municipal solid waste landfill. The NWLFCC met monthly for more than a year to develop and define criteria that would be used to develop a post-closure use Master Plan.
The final Master Plan, the result of an involved community planning and design process, reflects input received throughout the process, and also addresses regulatory constraints with operating a closed MSW. The current park facilities are the first phase in the multiphase Master Plan.