When the town of Cary began as a small stop on the North Carolina Railroad in the mid 1800's, no one had any idea what we'd become. Today's Cary is home to key, world-class businesses including IBM, MCI, SAS, Siemens, American Airlines, Lucent Technologies, John Deere, and more. These businesses fuel not only Cary's economy, but also the economy of the region and even the state.
Cary's healthy economy and its many wonderful natural features attracted new residents and businesses to our community. Fortunately, our visionary leaders have not been content to simply enjoy the fruits and bear the consequences that growth brings to an area. Instead, Cary leads the state in addressing the trademark challenges of growth. Our leaders have begun to protect the strong economy and attractive quality of life features (schools, open space, clean water) that make Cary so special.
Such a proactive approach to managing growth is not a surprise to those that know that many of Cary's citizens possess a very high level of education and skills. Those citizens not only enable the businesses they work for to thrive and prosper, but they demand of their leaders that the health, strength and values of community they were attracted to be maintained.
I'm proud to say that in just a few years, Cary has achieved the strongest growth management position anywhere in the Triangle, maybe even the state. We adopted adequate public facility ordinances for roads and schools so that new development can't occur until there's enough capacity to serve it. We have impact fees in place that ensure that existing citizens and businesses won't carry the full burden of improving the infrastructure as new citizens and businesses arrive. Cary's strategy keeps taxes low while providing revenue to help support all the things that make Cary the most appealing place to live and do business in the region.
Without raising taxes and while keep three triple-A bond ratings, we've been able to set aside $12.5 million for the preservation of open space as well as give more than $4 million to improve the educational opportunities of Cary children. We've built new parks and new recreation facilities, including a new senior center, a new tennis center, and a second community center. And we're expanding our water treatment plan to ensure an adequate supply of drinking water. We're widening roads to shorten commute times.
These and dozens of other new initiatives have helped the Town Council keep our promise to make Cary a truly attractive, well-planned and well-served community with amazingly low crime and an abundance of opportunities. We think it's really very simple. In Cary, our priorities are our citizens' priorities. And as long as we keep that philosophy in mind, we know we'll achieve our goal of keeping Cary a thriving, economically robust, environmentally aware, and high quality community.