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The Daily Tar Heel

Area Officials Plan for 193-Acre Educational Development

The 193-acre development is bordered by Old N.C. 86 to the west and Eubanks Road to the north and is under a joint planning agreement between Orange County and the town of Carrboro.

Tentative plans call for an educational facility and a recreational park to be situated on the tract, which the county purchased partially with bond revenue.

The 23-member work group includes two county commissioners, two Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Board of Education members, one Orange County Board of Education member, one Chapel Hill Town Council member, one Carrboro Board of Alderman member and other citizens.

Park work-group members hope to complete the master plan by May or June for approval from the Orange County Board of Commissioners and the town of Carrboro.

But David Stancil, environment and resource conservation manager for Orange County, said that although this timetable is realistic, he would like to see the group expedite the process.

"It would be nice to make a lot of this happen a lot faster than that," Stancil said.

He said the group has the chance to shape a parcel of land from the bottom up. "We have a unique piece of property," he said. "We have an opportunity from the outset ... to master plan a site of this nature."

Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board member Nick Didow said he is excited about including a new school in the project.

Didow cited the future elementary school in Meadowmont and the athletic fields at Smith Middle School in Carrboro as successful collaborations between schools and outdoor facilities. "It's an opportunity to (develop) better than ever before."

But officials said jurisdiction over school uses would be left to the elected governing bodies such as the school board.

Rich Shaw, land conservation manager for Orange County, said the land, which borders on the southwestern tip of Duke Forest, has a variety of topographic features, from woodlands to vistas.

Stancil said no plans have been etched in stone yet.

"That's our group's role, to try to be creative."

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