Cary, North Carolina is a thriving, forward-looking, and diverse community nationally recognized for its quality of life. The community is known as one of the best midsize and high-caliber municipal services communities in the nation to live, work, find a home, start a business, raise a family, or retire. Over 179,000 citizens within 61 square miles call Cary home, making it the 7th largest municipality in North Carolina.
Cary outperforms national averages for home values, job creation, personal income, and population growth and is consistently ranked as one of the safest places to live in the country. We are conveniently situated between Raleigh, North Carolina’s capital city, and Research Triangle Park, and, within a two-hour drive, citizens enjoy beaches to the east and mountains to the west.
Cary’s economy is robust because of careful planning, conservative financial budgeting, and prudent decision-making. Smart growth and development allows for stable citizen taxes and rates along with a significant tax base resulting in extremely high levels of service and infrastructure. The demands for development continue to be strong as evident by Fenton. Our strong economic status is due in part being home to world-class businesses in an area with a strong public education system, several notable universities, and major health care facilities.
Cary has maintained a strong financial position for decades and throughout the pandemic. Our AAA bond rating is a testament to our sound financial and management policies. Our fiscal year 2023 reflects a total budget of $443.6 M—including a $324 M operating budget and a $119 M capital budget. Of this, $22.3 M is identified as the total Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts (PRCR) operating budget.
Residents enjoy a multitude of recreational activities among more than 31 parks and 82 miles of greenway trails found all over town including at Fred G. Bond Metro Park or Hemlock Bluff Nature Preserve. Cary has been referred to as the country’s capital of collegiate and professional sports which are hosted at well-renowned complexes such as WakeMed Soccer Park, home of the North Carolina FC and the NC Courage, USA Baseball National Training Complex, and the Cary Tennis Park. Cultural arts events are also in abundance in Cary including the Downtown Cary’s Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival, one of the south’s premier events over the past quarter-century, and the Chinese Lantern Festival. These as well as attractions like the Koka Booth Amphitheater, Cary’s state-of-the-art outdoor performance center, and summer home to the NC Symphony, continue to attract record-breaking crowds and millions of dollars to the region’s economy. Continuing our track record of excellence; future projects include the 7-acre, $68 million Downtown Cary Park currently under construction and The Center, a 450,000 square-foot community recreation and sports facility that will host indoor youth, collegiate, and amateur sporting events.
The 2040 Cary Community Plan, Imagine Cary, articulates Cary’s vision and values and sets a course for achieving a desired future that ensures prosperity through quality and a commitment to a sense of community, culture, and history. We have a long track record of excellence and innovation. We focus every day on enriching the lives of our citizens by creating an exceptional environment and providing exemplary services that enable our community to thrive and prosper. The key to our success is strong partnerships between the citizens, the council, staff, and businesses.
Cary challenges the standard for how local governments should operate. We embody excellence, professionalism, and inclusion in local government by demonstrating leading practices and partnering effectively with our community. We build on our legacy of excellence and recognize that we always have room to grow. This continued excellence requires that we challenge convention and dare to think differently, always learning along the way. When we are successful, our citizens know that their local government is a committed partner and trusted steward of their resources.
Adaptive leadership, at the core of our collaborative OneCary Culture, provides the tools to tackle our future challenges. We are guided by our values of:
People First – we exist to build an inclusive community and take care of people.
Evolution – we seize opportunities to experiment, learn, and adapt to create a better future.
Working Smart – we prioritize work on the most important things.
Anyone Can Lead – we differentiate leadership from authority and believe that everyone can find ways to make our community better.
These values are a direct reflection of the organization’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered to bring their full selves to work every day. The OneCary culture plays a significant role in helping us achieve our vision of creating public value that brings the community together and enhances lives.