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Renovations Underway for Premiere Recreational Experience in Clayton

In an exciting development for the residents of Clayton, the Town’s Parks and Recreation Community Center and the adjacent Community Park are set to undergo a transformative upgrade.

claytonparksupgradestoryThe Town held a groundbreaking ceremony, which marked the commencement of the third and final project funded by the 2019 Parks and Recreation Bond.

The upcoming renovations will elevate Clayton's recreational landscape significantly. Additions will include the Towns's first pickleball courts, new tennis facilities, bocce ball courts, shuffleboard courts, a modern playground, a greenway connection, and increased parking capacity.

“These enhancements will accommodate the diverse needs and interests of Clayton's residents, providing an enjoyable recreational experience for all of our residents,” said Clayton Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard.

The success of this endeavor is possible thanks to community and voter support. A resounding 73 percent of citizen voters backed the 2019 Parks and Recreation Bond, making it evident that the enhancement of recreational spaces is a priority of the Town.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, along with Mayor Jody McLeod and the Clayton Town Council, played a pivotal role in championing this project. Town staff have also worked hard to keep this project moving forward and progressing on schedule.

In January 2024, Clayton Town Council awarded the project contract to S.T. Wooten for a bid of $3.7 million. Renovations began in early 2024 and are expected to be completed by the year's end.

“The Town recognizes the integral role that Sage Design team, McAdams, WithersRavenel, and S.T. Wooten have played in the project’s success, said Town Manager Rich Cappola. “These collaborators have demonstrated exceptional skills as contractors, construction experts, engineers, and planners. Their contributions have been instrumental in shaping the future of Clayton's recreational facilities.”

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by esteemed guests, including N.C. Representative Donna McDowell White, who joined speakers Barnard, McLeod, Cappola, and Chris McKeel, Division Manager at S.T. Wooten.

With the Clayton Community Center welcoming more than 100 visitors daily, these upgrades will meet the evolving needs of residents and offer a premier recreational experience.

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'The word is out.' Growing population, retail and biotech fueling Clayton's boomtown surge

By: Joel Brown
Wednesday, May 24, 2023

ABC 11'S Boomtowns series traveled to Clayton to get a closer look at the supercharged growth of this one-time Johnston County mill town that's turned itself into a magnet for new residents, retail and biotech jobs.

"The word is out."
"Oh my gosh, they're several things that make Clayton a boomtown. One of them certainly is our geographic location," said Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod on what's fueling the growth.

The town's boom is certainly benefiting from just how connected it is. It sits right off I-40; close to I-95; US 70 and 42; and the soon-to-be-completed 540 outer loop through Clayton is expected to unlock a whole new level of growth.

"The word is out that Clayton is a place for people to want to live work and play. And that's what's really been fueling a lot of this growth," said Clayton Town Manager Rich Cappola.

How big is the boom? In 2010, Clayton's population was 16,000. Now, the town boasts 28,000 residents. Johnston is the fastest-growing county in the state. And most of those new residents are moving to Clayton. Every day, five new people move here.

"It's a lot of new people moving from New York, from Florida, also California," said L.D. Broadhurst about the new neighbors being lured in by lower home prices and proximity to Research Triangle Park.

Broadhurst works at Glen's Barbershop on Main Street where he's happy to lure in these new customers for a good haircut.

"We are one of the top barbershops here in Clayton. Google us!" he said with a smile.

"It's good and bad."
Mickie Seligsohn retired here in 2005. She's had a front-row seat for Clayton's resurgence from an aging town abandoned by the textile mills to a charming Raleigh-fueled enclave where neighbors know neighbors to boomtown, the hottest ZIP code in the state.

"It's good and bad," said Seligsohn who has heard some grumbling about the growth. "Everybody's complaining because they don't have that small-town effect. But it's like everybody that's complaining are the new people moving in that are creating the problem."

ABC 11 spoke with Chris Johnson via Zoom from a retail convention in Las Vegas. It's Johnson's job to sell the world on Johnston County. The economic development director is celebrating some big wins: Construction is set to start soon on the Copper District which will transform 300 acres of the old Penny Farm into one of the largest mixed-use projects in the Triangle. Like a North Hills in Clayton, it's promising over 800 homes, high-rise offices, retail, and hotel

"The real estate market is all about location," Johnson said. "We've always been a part of the Triangle region. But you know, reaching or expanding that Raleigh-Wake County footprint is really encompassing of all of Johnston County now."

The explosive growth has also brought new concerns about traffic and crime. And town leaders have heard the grumbles over Clayton losing its small-town charm. They're pledging to continue working to create a balance between preserving what people love about old Clayton and welcoming in all the new.

"We certainly can't forget where we came from, what made Clayton a great place to be," said Cappola. "And why all these folks want to be here is what we gotta make sure we keep to our core."

The strongest growth in Clayton, currently, is in biopharmaceuticals. Global drug makers Grifols and Novo-Nordisk both call Clayton home. And both companies have massive expansion plans in the works.

More jobs, more people producing a Clayton boom showing no signs of slowing down.

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'Growing tremendously': Bars, restaurants opening at incredible rate in Clayton as town booms

By: Elaina Athans WTVD
Monday, August 21, 2023

CLAYTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- Clayton's food scene is thriving and driving booming growth in one of the fastest-growing areas in North Carolina.

The owners of Main Street Beer and Wine said residents have been knocking on the door wondering when they're finally going to open and officially join Clayton's thriving culinary scene.

"It is an exciting time and it's fun to be part of a town that has rallied around itself," said Main Street Beer and Wine Co-Owner Ashley Techet.

"This area is growing tremendously," said Main Street Beer and Wine Co-Owner Olena Milovanona. "This new population just needs more things. It needs more things to do or places to meet, more restaurants to try -- more variety."

The shop is holding its grand opening Friday.

"We love this community. Everybody has been extremely friendly and very welcoming," said Milovanona.

Read more …'Growing tremendously': Bars, restaurants opening at incredible rate in Clayton as town booms

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