Five Sports and Recreation Projects Score Big with Wake Commissioners  

$8.5 million in investments to attract more visitors

Millions of people staying in hotel rooms or eating out in Wake County are helping five sports and recreation projects slide across home plate. The Wake County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved $8.5 million in hospitality tax proceeds to fund athletic parks in Wendell, Garner, Apex and Holly Springs, as well as an expansion at Marbles Kids Museum. 

"When we have people or businesses considering whether to move to the area, they're always looking at the quality of our schools, parks and recreation and cultural amenities," said Vice Chair Susan Evans of Wake County Board of Commissioners. “These complexes and facilities will accommodate visitors for tournaments and big events and that’s critical - our hospitality industry is a large economic driver for this region.”

Since 1991, Wake County has been authorized by the state to collect a 6% room occupancy tax and 1% food and beverage tax. Every two years, Commissioners open a competitive process to award designated funds to smaller projects which are required to support arts, culture, sports or convention related expenses. The goal is to improve and expand amenities for the county’s growing population, attract visitors and boost the economy.

Six applications were submitted by municipalities and community organizations. They were then reviewed by a committee of staff, municipal leaders, tourism/hospitality officials and local arts advocates. Following their recommendations, the Board voted unanimously to award the following projects (click the links for detailed project info and visuals):

  • Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh - $600,000
    Funding will go toward the $6 million dollar expansion of our popular children’s museum in downtown Raleigh, adding 3,200 sq. feet of new indoor exhibit space and a 2nd story outdoor courtyard for play and community events. Expected completion: June 2025

  • Yeargan Park, Garner - $2 million
    This funding will go toward completing Phase 1 of a new, $17 million park off East Garner Road to include four, lighted multi-purpose fields (turf and natural grass), picnic shelters and restrooms. Expected completion: Summer 2025
  • Cass Holt Road Park, Holly Springs - $2.3 million
    This award goes toward the $63.5 million park across from Holly Springs High School and will help construct an indoor recreation center and athletic park featuring four basketball courts, eight volleyball courts, six pickleball courts two multi-purpose, lighted turf fields and a large gathering plaza. Expected completion: Summer 2026

  • Pleasant Park, Apex - $1.8 million
    This funding will be invested in competing Phase II of this park just off the I-540 and US 1 interchange in Apex. It will provide year-round access to lighted, turf fields for baseball/softball tournaments, four batting cages, 250-person shelter with restrooms, and a field house with concessions and official locker rooms. Expected completion: June 2026

  • Athletic Field Complex, Wendell - $1.8 million
    Thanks to this funding, this new $10 million outdoor field complex will feature five multi-purpose fields (two grassed with one lighted and fenced; three turf), concessions, restrooms, picnic tables, walking trails and a field house. Expected completion: Spring 2026


The one project the committee did not recommend at this time was a request for improvements to an outdoor BMX/skateboard park in Cary. With many applicants stating there were having to turn away users or keep waiting lists, all recipients stated their appreciation that these public tax dollar investments will help them create more capacity, allowing more families, community partners, schools and visitors to enjoy what Wake County has to offer.  

Press Release