CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — In just a few days, the fence that’s been blocking nearly seven acres in Cary near S. Academy Street and Kildaire Farm Road will be coming down. It comes as the Town of Cary prepares to welcome families to Downtown Cary Park — a $68 million project that’s been in the works for nearly 20 years.
After crews started construction at the site about two years ago, businesses and residents in the area said they’ve been counting down the months and days for the big opening, especially after weather delayed construction at the site earlier in the spring.
“I remember when Cary Parkway was not connected. The growth, itself, has been fast and furious but we have to, and it’s great for the economy as we grow,” said Ashley Sheppard. The Cary resident is one of many who are hopeful about what the town’s new urban park will bring to the area.
Roy Dahoquist with Cotton House Craft Brewers said he’s eagerly watched to project come together — the park is located next to his business.
“It’s something new, it’s something different. There’s no park like it around,” said Dahoquist. He added, “It’s going to be great for Downtown Cary, it’s going to bring people here who don’t always come to Downtown Cary, more faces here, more people here that maybe live 15-20 minutes away will come down, check it out, and spend a day at the park.”
Many residents and businesses are also excited about the social district that will launch with the new park. It will allow people 21 and older in the area to purchase and carry marked, open containers of beer and wine. Hours for alcohol to be consumed within the district are restricted to Sunday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Dahoquist’s business is just one of the locations that will be clearly marked and ready to serve.
“People leaving have to get a certain cup, it’s going to be dated and labeled with the time and where it came from,” said Dahoquist. He continued, “Obviously, it will be beneficial for us. When you have a business, you have a certain amount of space, but when you add that park space to the business, it brings a lot more people that you can serve.”
Just around the corner, employees at Howdy Homemade Ice Cream also have a sign on their front window with the words “Beverages Welcome.” The business welcomes people with alcohol beverages, but they will only be serving ice cream.
Shift manager, Abby Watts, said, “This road is off the main stretch so there’s not a lot of foot traffic but the park is right there. I think it’s going to be a lot busier — that’s the hope.”
Watts’ coworker, Daniel Macri agreed and added, “We know with the park opening, we’ll be drumming up a lot of business.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Sunday for the park’s opening. Starting at 10 a.m., people in attendance will also be able to enjoy live music, food trucks, arts and crafts, synchronized light shows, and a Bandit Flight Team flyover to celebrate 20 years of work and planning that went into the project.