Morrisville is one of the fastest-growing and most diverse towns in North Carolina, located adjacent to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park – a national hotbed of technological development, hosting over 250 companies and 50,000 workers. The town’s economy is based on highly skilled professional and technology industries, and a population that is diverse, affluent and highly educated. The idea of living connected and living well guides the town’s decision-making processes in all areas and has been the catalyst for infrastructure improvements including roadways, greenways and recreational facilities.
Morrisville Moves to the Market
The Morrisville Healthy Food Hub project was a four-year collaborative effort to create a one-stop shop for healthy eating and living.
Western Wake Farmers’ Market (WWFM) was moved to Morrisville’s Town Center, bringing it within a mile of more than 9,000 total residents. The new Town Center location is also at the intersection of the recently developed north-south and east-west greenways, giving families the opportunity to walk or bike to the market. To help residents walk or bike to the healthy food hub, the town installed directional signage along the greenway system, sidewalks, and other corridors. The town and the WWFM are exploring possible expanded shuttle services to provide access to families who can’t walk, bike, or drive.
To address resource barriers, the market enables low-income shoppers to convert their EBT/SNAP dollars into tokens and requires all vendors to accept them.
The WWFM has worked to recruit more vendors who sell ethnic vegetables and provide cultural ambassadors to allow Asian, Indian, and Chinese residents living nearby to find their favorite products.
The nearby Morrisville Community Garden (MCG) provides a hands-on learning environment to teach children and families about the joys and benefits of growing healthy food. All produce from the education garden is donated to a local food bank along with recipe cards that offer suggestions on how to prepare the food. A “Cooking Matters” class is being developed to teach low-income families how to grow their own food and prepare it for eating.
The Healthy Food Hub supports healthy and active lifestyles through the confluence of the greenways, market and community garden.
COVID-19 Response: Re-Connect Morrisville
Morrisville’s leadership, county and state governments, community organizations, residents, businesses and others played a key role in ensuring that Morrisville stayed connected and viable through the pandemic.
Town government never closed and public-facing services continued to be provided. Additionally, town meetings were made available online.
Emergency food distribution locations were setup around the region, allowing low-income families to drive through daily for free meals.
Additionally, the town distributed 6,500 masks via distribution events and direct PPE drop-offs.
The parks and recreation department continued to offer recreation opportunities for the community through programs such ‘Rec to Go’ bags available for curbside contactless pickup and online and outdoor fitness classes.
Supporting local businesses
The town and chamber helped businesses by creating a digital platform to highlight establishments and connect patrons with businesses. “Small Business Saturday” was also held to generate revenue for local businesses.
Cricket at Church Street Park
Morrisville has seen a rapid increase in the population of the Asian Indian community. The town began looking for ways to be responsive to the interests of the new residents and several began expressing interest in cricket play, so the town entered into a partnership with the Triangle Cricket League (TCL).
The partnership began with providing temporary cricket grounds on various multipurpose fields within Morrisville’s park system. Parks were modified to accommodate the unique field needs for cricket play, which gained the attention of the United States of America Cricket Association to host several tournaments.Seeing the clear interest in cricket, Morrisville recognized the need for more intentional development of facilities. Open houses were held to design a new park, and the town received an overwhelming response to build a competition-size cricket ground. The town spent approximately $6.5 million on Church Street Park and it officially came on-line in 2015.
The success of previous tournaments, coupled with the availability of a regulation-sized ground, gained the attention of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and after a site visit, they announced that the Americas region qualifier for the 2020 ICC World Cup would be played at Church Street Park.
The event quickly came into doubt when it was realized that the pitch—where the batsmen stand to hit balls thrown by the other team’s bowler—was not up to international standards.
Local cricket enthusiasts volunteered their time to unload specialized clay and sod, and special curators were brought in from New Zealand and Australia until finally, the grounds were ready.
Ultimately, the 2018 international event was a massive success and Church Street Park continues hosting cricket leagues and tournaments, bringing large crowds of people to Morrisville.