Wake County has not traditionally played a large role in greenway development and maintenance – municipalities typically fill that niche; however, in 2011, the City of Raleigh approached Wake County about partnering to construct the Neuse River Greenway, since it would benefit residents in both the incorporated and unincorporated areas. After Wake County agreed to that partnership, other municipalities began to inquire about greenway partnerships, as well.
In response to the increased interest in greenway partnerships, County staff has instituted a solicitation process that generally runs in parallel with the land acquisition Solicitation of Interest process. County staff sends each municipality a letter inviting them to submit partnership proposals, including project scope, cost estimates, funding requested from the County, etc. Those proposals are evaluated in tandem with the Solicitation of Interest process. County staff provides a recommended slate of greenway partnerships to the Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee (OSAPAC) for input. The recommendation is then forwarded to the Board of Commissioners for further review. If the Commissioners concur with the recommendation, staff will negotiate interlocal agreements with the selected municipalities and bring those agreements back to the Board of Commissioners for final review and approval.
During the most recent round of partnership funding (2013), Wake County received 11 greenway project proposals from eight municipalities at a full cost of approximately $25 million. The municipalities proposed to cover $13 million of this total, and the remaining $12 million represented grant requests for County funding.
The 2013 greenway partnership funding process is still underway, and there are no immediate plans to conduct another round. By the time the 2013 process concludes, there will be no more open space bond funding available for greenways. Any future greenway partnerships would require that Wake County voters approve another bond referendum.