RDU board makes no decision on land proposals

WAKE COUNTY (WTVD) -- The Raleigh Durham Airport Authority met Thursday, but made no decision on what to do with more than 250 acres of forest land along Old Reedy Creek Road near the airport that it has put up for lease.

RDU's Vision 2040 master plan, adopted by the board last year, designates the property for a potential quarry, office space, or industrial use, among other things.

"We need time, as staff, to go look at this and try to figure out what is truly in the best interest of the Airport Authority, and I believe what is in the best interest of the authority will be in the best interest of the Community," said RDU President and CEO Michael Landguth.

Environmentalists and outdoor groups have called on the board to maintain the area as greenspace. Several cyclists showed up Thursday to petition the RDU board to legally allow recreational use. There are miles of unofficial bike trail on the property right now.

"This is kind of a little sanctuary," said cyclist Yanni Live. "I know the infrastructure has to be built for population growth, but it doesn't give people, it doesn't give wildlife, it doesn't give green space for us to go to anymore."

Earlier this year, a non-profit conservation group offered to buy part of the property to expand adjacent Umstead State Park, but the RDU board rejected the offer.

RELATED: Conservation group wants to buy RDU land, expand Umstead State Park

RDU officials say they are not interested in selling off the property and handing over the deed.

But some local leaders say there is commercial value in using the land for greenspace and recreation.

"Holding onto this land and developing for recreational uses, and associated businesses that would tie into those recreational uses, is very important for the long term viability of not only RDU airport but also Wake County as a whole. Once those areas are gone, they're gone forever," said Morrisville Mayor Mark Stohlman.

There was no vote Thursday and Landguth said there is no schedule for when the board will make a decision.
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