By CRAIG MILLAR
RALEIGH — Tucked into the parks bond Raleigh citizens will be voting up or down soon is a little-known provision sure to raise the ire of some: the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department’s plan to build a “channeled aquifer containment system,” commonly known as a “moat,” around the community of Hayes Barton near Five Points.
While the bond seems likely to pass, what remains unclear is the origin of the Hayes Barton Moat Project provision. Some citizens seem miffed the moat was not offered to their neighborhood, while others wondered hopefully whether such a containment system would keep people in as well as out.
Making up roughly half of the $92 million bond, the HBMP, according to Parks & Rec head Diane Sauer, will “further insulate Hayes Barton from the slings and arrows of the unwashed masses, and put the finishing touches on the ‘Merry Olde England’ flair it’s known for.”
Hayes Barton, named for Sir Walter Raleigh’s home in England, is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Raleigh, but “there’s only so much an alarm system, a wrought-iron fence, two Labs and a surly housekeeper can do” to keep it safe, according to Cowper Jarvis Jr., a longtime resident of the home he inherited from his parents on Iredell Drive. “We need protection from the elements, by which I mean thieves, con men, muggers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Broughton band fruit sellers. We don’t eat more navel oranges than any other neighborhood, but you’d think we were running a g**damn O.J. factory here, the way these kids infest the place.”
Making the plan more expensive is the plan to run underground tunnels capable of ferrying Land Rovers and Mercedes SUVs in two directions. “We considered making it unidirectional to save space and cost, but unfortunately Barre3 classes start at the same time husbands get home to diddle the help, so we went with fewer tunnels but with twice the passing room,” said Ken Bowers, Raleigh’s interim Planning Director.
One-armed crossing barriers are being employed, said Bowers, along with deployable spike strips if a car without privileges tries to cross the HBM. Temporary tags may be issued to drivers of approved vehicles, like Jade Garden drivers and UPS package carriers but not News & Observer deliverers. “We had to draw the line somewhere,” he said.
The real contention in the plan, according to an unnamed intern on the Parks Advisory Board, came when the question of what exactly constitutes Hayes Barton came up. “Everybody in a two-room bungalow off of Whitaker Mill thinks they’re in The HB,” said the intern, Polly Heintz. “Guess what? You’re not. Neither are the quadplexes on The Circle. You. Don’t. Get. A. Moat.”
In the end, it was decided that the area should obviously include Chuck’s Five Points Service on Glenwood Avenue, Hayes Barton Café and Dessertitarium, Crafty Beer and the dry cleaners on Fairview, but interestingly not the Masonic Temple. “We might just keep the anti-aircraft gun on the front lawn, though,” said Jarvis.
There is always the chance the bond won’t pass. Resolve is strong, however. “If [Parks and Rec] won’t build it, we’ll do it ourselves,” said Hayes Barton resident Caswell “Cass” Vance Harvey IV and southeast Raleigh activist-loudmouth Octavia Rainey simultaneously.