Cary, NC – Activities picked up this week as we began the Christmas break countdown.
Meetings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday were cancelled.
Wednesday – Cary’s Economic Future
Wednesday at noon was the Town of Cary annual employee luncheon which was held in the Herb Young center. Employees were treated to great food in an informal atmosphere that included couches. I started the remarks by introducing council members and thanking employees for all they have done this past year and all they will do in the coming year. Cary is blessed to have an incredible staff. They are truly the best of the best.
After making remarks at the employee luncheon I headed over to MacGregor Downs to speak at the Cary MacGregor Rotary Club. I provided a quarterly update that included finances, the Fenton development, the mall redevelopment, downtown developments, the census, the 150th celebration, and our Hometown Spirit Award winner. After speaking I answered questions mostly about downtown developments and roads.
Wednesday evening I chaired a meeting of the EDC (Economic Development Committee). The agenda included an update on our branding effort, an update on developments around town, and the quarterly report from the Vice President of Economic Development.
The branding effort is moving into the next phase which focuses on the creative part. The consultant will be presenting a proposed strategy statement to the council at our annual retreat in March. Then design work will begin. The EDC approved the creation of a subcommittee made up of three ISAB (Information Services Advisory Board) members and EDC members to review logo designs, slogans, and strategy. After the subcommittee reviews branding proposals, it will go to the public for comment and recommendations.
In the development update we were told that Epic Games is expanding. They considered other global and local locations but eventually decided to stay in Cary. They will create a three-story building at Dillard and Jones Franklin that includes below ground parking. The expansion will include the hiring of 1700 new employees. The update also included information about the Crossroad Ford building on Walnut which will now be used for office and the Miller Motte building which is for sale.
The quarterly report talked about new and existing business activity. Xerox has hired 35 employees to date and is expected to hire 200 to 300 in 2020. It is believed they will continue to expand in the coming years. The National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship announced they are relocated to Cary in 2020 with a goal of moving to downtown. The remainder of the report focused on meetings with developers, commercial real estate brokers, and site consultants; regional collaboration efforts; Chamber Economic development meetings, and the Town of Cary collaboration.
My last event Wednesday was at the Friends of the Page Walker holiday party. This group of dedicated citizens provides an invaluable service to Cary by acting at stewards for the Page-Walker Arts and History Center, working to preserve Cary’s historic structures, maintaining the Cary Heritage Museum, providing information about Cary’s history, and promoting the cultural arts. We are blessed to have these individuals in our community.
Thursday – Cary’s Wall of Honor
Thursday I had the honor of introducing the first class for Cary’s Wall of Honor. These are staff and citizens who transcendent contributions have shaped our community and are woven into the fabric of Cary forever. Here are excerpts from my comments about each honoree:
Our first recipient was once known as Cary’s walking encyclopedia. Tim Bailey retired in 2016 as Assistant Town Manager with nearly 27 years of service to Cary. Over his tenure, he worked on hundreds of projects, from roads to parks to utilities. He was vital in developing the town’s road network using developer and NC DOT contributions and grants to be fiscally responsible with the town’s contributions. He influenced significant projects like improvements to High House Road and Cary Parkway and the Bond Park Community Center. In 2016, I remembered telling the News & Observer that his fingerprints are on everything, and for that reason, Cary is a better place to live.
Our next recipient was known as the Queen of Parks. Mary Henderson gave more than 27 years of service through various roles and retiring as the Director of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources in 2010. As the director, her accolades include leading PRCR to national accreditation, grew facilities such as the USA Baseball National Training Complex, three community centers, eight parks, and 24 miles of greenway trails. She helped with the coordination of the acquisition of over 1,000 acres of open space and parkland. Mary had direct involvement in the community we consider the greatest place to live and play, and for that, we thank her!
If our last recipient was known as the Queen of Parks, then our next recipient should be known as the King of Public Works. Mike Bajorek set the standard of public work service that many of us take for granted today. Since his hire in 1988, his hard work and determination promoted him to several positions, including Director of Public Works and then to Deputy Town Manager until his retirement in 2019. With 31 years of service, Mike leaves behind a legacy that embodies the Cary Way service model. He was a crucial member of the coordination of the program development and design of the $40 million Cary Town Hall campus renovation and expansion project. He also spearheaded the Town’s effort to combat the opioid problem in Cary, including receiving the recognition of becoming a Bloomberg Mayors Challenge Champion City. Like another nominee tonight, Mike’s devotion to a cause bigger than himself started before being hired with the Town. He served in the US Air Force and US Air Force Reserve, retiring as a Major. Mike, thank you for your service.
Our next recipient is an excellent example of someone whose dedication and commitment to the job projected her forward to more significant accomplishments. Pat Bazemore started out as a police sergeant, then become Cary’s first female lieutenant, captain, deputy chief of police, and then police chief. She protected and served our community for nearly 33 years, retiring in 2015 as Police Chief. During her time with the Town, she oversaw the town’s most high-profile murder case, initiated several community policing programs, and led Cary to its first designation as the safest mid-sized city in the county. Former Town Manager Ben Shivar shared that “she’s helped guide us through some of Cary’s toughest and most tragic situations, and he was personally grateful for the professional and thoughtful ways she’s served.”
And last but certainly not least, it is an honor to recognize Jerry Miller as a recipient on the Wall of Honor. Mr. Miller’s contributions to our growth and development are numerous, and my time tonight only allows me to highlight a few. He illustrated and published Around and About Cary, the unofficial, official history of the book of our Town, is the founding the father of Lazy Daze Arts and Craft Festival in 1977 and is internationally known as an artist. Many of his prints hang in Town Hall, Page-Walker Center, and many homes throughout our community. Often referred to as the “walking Chamber of Commerce, “he received multiple awards for his community dedication. His roots in Cary are longer than any list of awards or recognitions that he may have received. Since 1957, Mr. Miller planted himself here, grew his family and his love for our town. He is always going above and beyond to make Cary, in his words, a place where better living begins.
The honorees have a name plate on the wall between the police building and administration building at town hall. The recognition ceremony was followed by a reception for guests and families.
Saturday – Cary Tree Lighting
Saturday I joined council members Yerha, Robinson, Frantz, and George for the 2019 Christmas Tree lighting at town hall. This event was emceed by Cary resident and WTVD anchor Steve Daniels. We were all treated to amazing song and dance performances for about an hour. Then I introduced the 2019 tree lighter, Anthony Blackmond, who was our hometown spirit award winner this year. After the tree was lit the crowd of several hundred retreated to the town hall lobby for refreshments.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week includes:
Celebrating the Best & Cary’s 2019 Employee of the Year
The Town’s largest party for staff, Celebrate the Best, was held Wednesday at the Herb Young Community Center. At this special event, 2019 Employee of the Year honors were bestowed upon Katie Drye, principal planner with the Planning and Development Services Department, who was chosen from an exemplary group of 16 Employee of the Year nominees. Wednesday’s event spotlighted 193 employees celebrating service milestones who were recognized for reaching landmark anniversaries of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. Also in attendance were more than 40 returning retirees who joined an additional 44 employees who retired in 2019. Thanks to the many hands who helped craft a fun and memorable day for our colleagues!
This Tuesday the first component of myCary launched — program registration for Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources. There were over 1,400 program registrations processed in the first day online, in person, and by phone. The new system will provide a more intuitive, more robust, and mobile-friendly way to search and sign-up for programs, classes, and camps. Over the next few months facility reservations and pass purchasing will roll-out. This project is part of the Town’s larger effort to move systems to a central platform providing a 360 view of citizens and how we engage with them.
Police Promotional Process
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending and keynoting the Police Department’s ‘Promotion, Pinning, Oath & Awards Ceremony’. The event recognized the 21 sworn and civilian new employees who have joined the departments ranks this year, as well as celebrated the 20 sworn and civilian staff promoted this year. The Honorable Judge Reuben F. Young gave the oath and affirmation. It is always gratifying to learn more about the men and women of Cary Police and the ways they serve our community daily. Thanks to members of the Town Council and other notable dignitaries for their attendance.
2019 Wall of Honorees Celebrated
Thursday evening, I joined the Mayor and Council members in honoring our inaugural Wall of Honorees. The Wall of Honor is the highest level of recognition from the Town of Cary government to staff and citizens whose transcendent contributions have shaped our community and are woven into the fabric of Cary forever. We are so grateful to our honorees – Tim Bailey, Mike Bajorek, Pat Bazemore, Mary Henderson and Jerry Miller – for their contributions and service to Cary.
Cary Chamber Youth Leadership
On December 3, Cary hosted nearly 50 high school juniors for the Chamber’s Youth Leadership Cary course on local government. Students were engaged in discussions on civics, budgeting, bond projects, and the Downtown Park. Participants also enjoyed tours of 911 and 311. The day closed with a “Faces of Local Government” panel featuring a wide variety of careers and stories from staff with expertise in environmental outreach, housing, communications, law, and more!
Cary Represented at Water Technology Conference in Israel
Sarah Braman, Utilities Engineer, was invited as a panelist for a Water Technology conference in Tel Aviv Israel this November. With a focus on disruptive water technologies it provided a great opportunity to share Cary’s unique story as well as learn about the latest innovations. The event that was attended by several important diplomats including the US EPA administrator and the governor of Michigan.
Move More Challenge
During the month of November, 66 early adopters had fun participating in the Move More Challenge. Each person tracked their physical activity through Wellable, either by syncing a wearable device or an app or by manually tracking activity. Together, our early adopters tracked an astounding 6,500 miles of activity, which means they went from Miami, FL to Portland, OR and back!
The early adopters found this platform intuitive, enjoyed tracking their hard work activity and had fun competing with coworkers! As a result, we will continue to offer this tool to our employees and look forward to incorporating it into several other initiatives, such as the Choose to Lose Weight Loss Challenge coming in January.
Town staff attended the Triangle Community Coalition breakfast on Tuesday. A presentation was provided by Mr. Joey Hopkins, NCDOT Division Engineer for Division 5, which includes Wake and Durham County. The presentation focused on “NCDOT: What’s Coming Down the Road,” which highlights many of the important transportation projects within the Triangle. Please find a copy of speaker Joey Hopkins presentation linked here.
Good Hope Water Storage Tank Now in Service
The Good Hope Elevated Water Storage Tank and Pump Station have officially been put into service. This 2-million-gallon tank doubles the amount of storage in the Western Pressure zone. Located near the corner of NC 55 and Good Hope Church Road, the tank is strategically positioned within the water system along the border with the Central Pressure Zone. As needed, water can be moved between the zones to supplement demand. The piping, valves and pumps necessary to make this happen easily make the Good Hope Tank our most complex storage tank. It also makes it the most versatile and provides operational flexibility not found in most water systems.
Upcoming Neighborhood Meetings
Rezoning neighborhood meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, December 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall. Neighborhood meetings provide an opportunity for applicants to present information on new rezoning requests and receive feedback from nearby property owners prior to the public hearing.
Wednesday’s meeting has two cases on the agenda:
- 19-REZ-17 Piney Plains Dellinger PDD Amendment – request to amend a 23.75-acre portion of an existing PDD located south of the intersection of Piney Plains Road and Dillard Drive to allow up to 300 multi-family dwelling units and 50,000 sf of office.
- 19-REZ-24 Carpenter Village PDD Amendment-Ferrell Farms – request to amend a portion of an existing PDD located on the north side of Morrisville Carpenter Road at its intersection with Village View Lane, to allow townhouses to be up to 42 feet in height, with not other changes to the PDD proposed.
For information about these cases, visit the Rezoning Cases at the Town’s website.
Nicole Raimundo, our CIO, was given the Cleantech Champion of the Year Award on Tuesday at the Cleantech Innovation Awards hosted by Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster. The award recognizes an individual who exemplifies commitment to supporting the cleantech industry with the achievements including an outstanding commitment to sustainability, business expansion, development of high-impact technology, or spearheading regional/cross-sector collaboration to drive innovation. Work highlighted included the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge, SmartCities, Cary’s WAZE connection, the Stormwater Taskforce, the Town’s Open Data Portal, the AERPAW project, the CNBC Technical Advisory Council, and active participation in RIOT.
Congratulations to Corporal Dustin Wright and Corporal John Maia for completing the West Point Leadership Course through Methodist University. The West Point Leadership course is adapted from the Military Leadership Course required of all Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in their third year of study. The course has been adapted for use in non-military organizations. This is an academically rigorous course that relies heavily on the case-based learning. The course examines and integrates leadership in organizations from four perspectives: the individual, group, leader, and organization.
Advisory Board Meetings
Mon, 12/09, 6pm
Town Hall Conf Room 11130
Emails From Citizens
Emails from citizens during holiday periods usually include a LOT of complaints. This week was no exception. However, there were a few thank you sprinkled in. The emails included the following:
- A complaint about dangerous downtown crosswalks (staff is working on solutions that may include mid-block crosswalks)
- A complaint about crossing Maynard to Godbold park (staff is investigating)
- A complaint about Cary Tennis Park reservation issues (staff is addressing)
- A request for Cary to do more environmental controls (while we are limited by authority given from the legislature, we continue to look for ways to do more and more)
- A complaint about Olympic Tae Kon Do signs along Yates Store, Carpenter Fire Station, O’Kelly and Green Level Church Road (staff removed signs since it violates sign ordinance)
- A complaint that the library has no drive though book drop off and that the parking deck is dangerous for those trying to get to the library.
- A complaint about the myCary launch notification
- A complaint that the Parkway Association needs to be resolved (this is an HOA and Cary has no jurisdiction in matters with HOAs)
- A concern about moving the Ivey-Ellington House
- A complaint about smoking in parks and a request to ban smoking (we would need authority from the legislature)
- A concern about stormwater from the development that would surround the downtown parking deck (this will be captured by the 500-year storm device on the park site)
- A Thank you for attending a holiday dinner
- In invitation to see and hear RTOOT (Really Terrible Orchestra of the Triangle (see https://rtoot.org/)
- Kudos to the Cary Police Department in being active with warnings about Cyber Monday.
- A complaint about clear cutting in Cary (Cary has very strict tree ordinances including tree buffers and a champion tree ordinance. However, we are restricted by the state legislature in what we can require of the developers. All our authority comes from the state legislature)
- A complaint about the RDU Quarry that included profanity and comments that I don’t care about Cary citizens and mountain bikers. (It is important to understand that Cary is not the decision maker in this matter. I usually get one of these types of emails, misinformed with name calling, every holiday season. Unfortunately, it is a pattern)
- Invitations to several parties, luncheons, and dinners (Sorry, while I very much appreciate the invitations, I just can’t all of these)
Next week will be a busy week and I will be sworn in to my fourth term as Cary Mayor and start my 13th year as mayor. State Representative and former Cary Mayor Pro-Tem Gale Adcock will administer the oath. Other activities include staff meetings, the NCAA College Cup reception, the only regularly scheduled council meeting on December, several Christmas Parties, and the Cary Jaycee Christmas parade.
Get In Touch
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 15th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Photos courtesy of Harold Weinbrecht.