In her State of the Town address Feb. 16, Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones said that in regard to future growth, “We’re just going to try and sit back and look at where we are and make sure our finances are coming in properly and try to make sure we are just keeping everything stable.” Considering how quickly Wake Forest has expanded (in August 2007, Forbes magazine ranked Wake Forest as 20th among the country's fastest-growing suburbs between 2000 and 2006), her cautious approach is understandable.
Wake Forest is spending about $25 million right now, according to Jones, including a new town hall under construction, more than $5 million worth of improvements to Franklin Street, its main road, and a plan to promote ridership on the town’s new bus service. For a town of some 27,000 residents, those are ambitious activities.
At the same time, state and local officials are working on ways so thattraffic improves on heavily traveled U.S. 1, which bypasses Wake Forest as it runs north-south between Raleigh and Interstate 85. The construction a few years ago of Interstate 540 just south of the border between Raleigh and Wake Forest has made it easier to live in Wake Forest and work in other parts of the Triangle with this new access.
In her address, Jones made sure to note that the town’s slowdown, “steady-as-she-goes” approach does not mean Wake Forest has any plans to cut back on services or programs. In fact, more new businesses are arriving or planning to open shop this year. But with so much occurring, the mayor said she felt it is prudent to take a breather and assess what has been done and where Wake Forest wants to go from here, particularly to keep its small-town feel.
For more information about Wake Forest’s plans for the future, see thisNews & Observer article.