Title: Oral History Interview with Koka Booth, July 6, 2004. Interview K-0648.
Interviewer: Van Scoyoc, Peggy
Interviewee: Booth, Koka
Abstract: Koka Booth moved with his family to Cary, North Carolina, in 1971, drawn to the Research Triangle Park area by its potential for growth. He immediately immersed himself in the community, winning a seat on the town council and eventually the mayoralty, a position he left in 2000. Booth set out to make Cary the kind of place where his children would want to spend their lives. The town council cleaned up downtown and required businesses to contribute to park-building efforts and to modify their storefronts and signs. As mayor, Booth paved roads, built recreation facilities, and oversaw the construction of a water treatment plant. He describes these changes and defends himself against accusations that he allowed the city to grow too quickly over his twelve-year tenure as mayor. He hopes that Cary's smart growth will continue, but sees some warning signs in the city's reliance on private businesses to fund its upkeep. This interview offers a brief look at community growth from the top down.