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Durham Makes Move To Buy Property Near Polluted Falls Lake

Falls Lake as seen from above Durham County
Travis S

Durham County Commissioners have approved a plan to buy 260 acres of land near Falls Lake.  The board voted 3-2 this week to purchase the property in east Durham for $650,000.

Commissioner Ellen Reckhow says the deal will allow Durham County to comply with a state mandate that says all local governments in the Falls Lake watershed must help clean up the polluted lake.

"It has Falls Lake frontage and so many creeks and streams such that 93 percent of the acreage is within 300 feet of water," Reckhow said during this week's meeting.

"This is a prime property for preservation."

Durham Commissioners chair Fred Foster voted against the purchase. He says it's not the right time to spend those funds.

"I can see teachers' salaries being covered by that," said Durham Commissioners chair Fred Foster, who voted against the purchase.

"Mental health, the youth home, social services; these are all needs that we're going to have to find the money for.  And to be spending money in a climate like this, to me, is just not fiscally responsible."

The city of Raleigh agreed to add another $300,000 to the deal.  Falls Lake supplies water to more than 500,000 people in Wake County.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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