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Park and Greenway Planning and Development

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What is the vision for Raleigh parks and greenways? Where will new parks and greenways be located? How are parks and greenways developed? How are parks and greenways paid for?

The Park Development and Communications Division of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department is responsible for the planning and development of all City parks and greenways.

See all current Parks and Greenways Projects List Here

What is the vision for Raleigh parks and greenways?

The City defines a broad vision for the entire park and greenway system through the City of Raleigh 2030 Comprehensive Plan, the Capital Area Greenway Master Plan, and the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources System Plan. These documents provide a vision, goals, objectives and policies that guide decisions.

Where will new parks and greenways be located?

Before a park is designed and constructed, the public is invited to assist in the process of park master planning.

Park master plans are completed at an individual park level, unlike the comprehensive plan, which outlines the framework for the park system as a whole. A park master plan is a conceptual design document that, once adopted by City Council, generally describes and guides the future management, design, and development of a park property.

The basic steps of the master plan process include:

  • A comprehensive public participation process.
  • Master plan review by the Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board.
  • Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board recommends action to City Council.
  • City Council takes action on recommended plan.

Get Involved

We engage citizens in the creation of master plans for new parks. Citizen stakeholders, staff and consultants work together to create master plans for new parks. During this process, there are also opportunities for input and feedback from the general community.

How are parks and greenways developed?

Once a park has a master plan or a greenway corridor has been acquired, design and construction will follow. The timing of design and construction can vary based on the size and scope of the project, as well as budgetary constraints.


For large projects, a design consultant is hired to transform the master plan into buildable instructions. For smaller projects, such as playgrounds, this process may be completed in-house by design development staff. During design, exact locations are solidified for all elements of the site such as buildings, walkways, parking, and playground equipment.

When the design is 30 percent complete, it is presented at a public meeting and at the Parks, Recreation, and Greenway Advisory Board meeting. At this time, the public is invited to provide verbal and/or written comment on the design.


Once the design is complete, the City will put out the design for a competitive bidding process. A construction company will be chosen to complete the construction of the park or greenway, as described in the design documents. As required by the North Carolina General Statutes, the lowest responsive and responsible bidder will be awarded the contract by City Council.

How are parks and greenways paid for?

Parks and greenways are funded through the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The CIP is the City’s five-year financial plan that analyzes major facility needs, projects fiscal resources, establishes priorities, and develops schedules for the acquisition and construction of capital facilities. The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department’s primary sources of CIP funding come from Parks and Recreation Bonds, Facility Fees, General Fund (Tax Base), grants and donations.

Bond Referendum Program

The Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department’s primary source of revenue for the development of new facilities comes from voter-approved bond referendums. Projects are approved by the Raleigh City Council and put on a ballot for voters to approve. The Parks and Recreation Bond Referendums were 2000, 2003, 2007, 2014 and 2022. In addition to Parks and Recreation Bond Referendums, greenways have been funded through the 2011 Transportation Bond. In 2012, three specific parks and recreation projects were funded through a two-thirds general obligation bond. Two-thirds bonds are a long-term financing option, available to local governments in North Carolina under state law. The bond total can be up to two-thirds of the amount by which the municipality reduced its outstanding general obligation indebtedness in the preceding fiscal year.

Facility Fee Program

The City of Raleigh’s Facility Fee Program assesses impact fees to residential developers when new homes are being built in Raleigh. The Facility Fees are used for two different purposes in Raleigh: Transportation and Parks and Recreation projects. The fees collected must address projects related to new growth in the City. The City must spend $1 for every $0.50 collected in the geographic area they were collected in.

General Fund (Tax base)

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department receives a nominal annual transfer of revenue from the City’s General Fund (Tax Base), in order to develop and maintain its facilities.


The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department actively applies for Federal, State, Local, Private and Non-Profit grant opportunities. In many cases, these grants require a match and allow the Department to leverage its resources. Grants that have been received include:  Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF), Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF), Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and Research Triangle Park (RTP).


Public and private donations are welcomed by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. Donations are accepted in the form of money, time (volunteering), and park amenities, such as benches and trees, as well as land donations. The City of Oaks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation that was formed to accept major donations including land, monetary, and other donations.

Get Involved

The City Council traditionally holds a public hearing on the Proposed Budget after its first regular meeting in June. Council meetings, public hearings and work sessions are held in the Council Chambers of the Avery C. Upchurch Municipal Complex (222 West Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC 27601).



Park Planning Projects

Greenway Projects

Greenway Maintenance

Raleigh Municipal Building
6th Floor
222 W. Hargett St.


Lead Department:
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
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