The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority has agreed to lease 151 acres of land to Wake County to use as a public mountain biking recreational area.
The land, known as the “286 property,” is located north of Interstate 40 between William B. Umstead State Park and Lake Crabtree County Park. The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted on Nov. 21 to execute the 10-year lease, and the Airport Authority approved it at its meeting today.
“As we continue to grow, preserving green spaces is critical to maintaining — and improving — our quality of life,” said Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria. “Today’s agreement will not only conserve our natural resources but expand popular recreational offerings for all our residents to enjoy.”
Wake County will pay the Airport Authority a total of $5,260,611 to lease the land over the next 10 years. This amount will be offset by annual contributions made by Cary and Morrisville to the county. The lease also provides for three options to renew the lease for a total potential lease of 40 years.
Cyclists had been building and using the trails on the property for years without the airport’s permission. Today’s decision means that Wake County will operate 286 as an extension of Lake Crabtree County Park, which will include the sanctioned use of the mountain biking trails.
When the lease begins on Jan. 1, Wake County will immediately initiate a master plan for the site. Staff will remove nonpermitted footbridges and other structures, and once opened, visitors will be prohibited from leaving the leased property boundary, which is bordered by the creek.
Future development of the property could include spending $3 million to $3.3 million to rebuild 7 miles of trails; creating a maintenance trail for vehicular access; and adding a parking lot, composting toilet, small picnic shelter and drop-off/event area. The county estimates that ongoing staffing and maintenance of the park will cost another $3.3 million over those 10 years.