Knightdale families embrace new park at opening

mhankerson@newsobserver.comSeptember 22, 2013 

— Knightdale community leaders are calling it a destination. Eager companies and developers see it as a key neighborhood amenity.

But some of Knightdale’s parents think the town’s new 70-acre park is a close and convenient source of entertainment for their children.

Thursday night, the park officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The town invited vendors and food trucks to the event to show how some of the space could be used – when it wasn’t already claimed by Knightdale’s under-10 crowd.

Jackie Lewis is a mom of four and has been waiting for the park, specifically the playground, to open for the past year.

“Out here, there’s not a lot of playgrounds,” she said.

Rachel Sisak moved to Knightdale a year ago from Pennsylvania and has been taking her sons, Liam, 3, and Silas, 1, to parks in Cary and Raleigh.

Now she only has to travel about five minutes to find a park.

“The closest cool park like this was 20 minutes away,” Sisak said.

The park didn’t just attract Knightdale residents. Families from nearby Wendell and Raleigh were keeping a close eye on the park as it was constructed.

Jill Smith of Wendell has been driving by the park with her 4-year-old, Trey, to keep tabs on its progress.

“We’ve been checking by,” she said. “(I’ve been) showing Trey from the road.”

Knightdale Station took about three years to complete, from the time when the town council originally heard plans to finance the purchase of the land in May 2010 to the ribbon-cutting Thursday night. It includes a playground, walking trails, a dog park and athletic fields.

And that’s just the first phase.

The Knightdale Town Council has reserved $3.5 million for the second phase, which will include an amphitheater, multipurpose plaza, an aesthetic water tank and money for acquiring land for tennis courts.

The town is also working closely with Preston Development Co. to develop and build a subdivision to the north of the park.

“You could be sitting anywhere in one of the major cities in America and not have a park like this,” Knightdale mayor Russell Killen said in his introduction of the park.

“It’s a really exciting time to live in Knightdale.”

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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