Cary, NC – There were only a few activities this week as things wind down for the holidays.
Monday – Mayors Association
Monday I joined council members Smith, Yerha, and Liu as well as several Cary staff members at the Mayors Association holiday dinner in Wake Forest. All participants paid their way except the mayors whose dinner was included in their annual dues. There were about 150 people in attendance.
It was a great way to interact and meet the other councils in Wake County. Thanks to Wake Forest for hosting this for the second year in a row. At the dinner it was announced that I was elected Vice President of the Wake County Mayors Association which is my second time serving in this role. As part of my duties, I will oversee next year’s holiday dinner. So if you have any ideas let me know.
Wednesday – Cary Christmas Lights
Wednesday my wife and I went on the Cary Trolley Christmas Light tour. We were able to see the area’s finest neighborhood light displays while enjoying a sing-along of Christmas carols. IMHO the most spectacular light display was on Holt Road (see https://www.facebook.com/christmaslightsonholtrd/). If you get a chance check it out. The trolley tour was a lot of fun and lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes.
Thursday – Cary Photography
Thursday I met with photographer John Stanton, a Cary resident, who has filmed all over the world for decades including the oval office. You can get a sample of his work at http://www.creativeshake.com/profile.html?MyUrl=stanton79074. We had a great conversation about some of the things he has photographed over the years. He recently photographed the downtown Cary fountain and presented it to me as a gift. My meeting with Mr. Stanton was my last meeting of the week.
During the past several weeks there has been misinformation spread about our authority on clear cutting and tree removal. Here is the town attorney’s response on that subject:
“… The Town regulates trees and relies on general law and two Town Charter provisions to do so. Town ordinances regulate clear-cutting, mass grading, champion trees, landscaping requirements and related matters. The ordinances were drafted years ago to be robust as Cary has always been interested in preserving trees. If Council is interested, we can review our ordinances to see if enhancement is possible, particularly if Council has a particular issue or approach they’d like to see explored. We have taken a quick look at the Durham ordinance and while it is similar in many ways to Cary’s approach, in may be more stringent in several respects and may offer ideas for enhancement of Cary’s ordinances. We will continue to review Durham’s ordinance and should be able to provide the Manager with information as to where Durham regulations appear to be more robust than Cary’s. …”
We will be reviewing our current ordinances in the future to see if they protection can be enhanced further.
There has also been questions about the town’s authority related to the Rock Quarry on the RDUAA land and future access to Umstead Park. Here is staff’s response on that matter:
“… To follow up on the various Quarry communications and Public Speaks Out, we’d like to share additional information:
- Staff evaluated Town maps back to 1988 and confirmed that the existing quarry is NOT currently and was NOT previously within the boundaries of the Town of Cary. It is also NOT within the Town’s ETJ.
- This same review confirmed that the Odd Fellows parcel is NOT currently and was NOT previously within the boundaries of the Town of Cary. It is also NOT within the Town’s ETJ.
- Staff had conversations with RDU staff and Umstead Park staff, who confirmed that the greenway will not be closed due to the perimeter fencing. If any impact is anticipated, the short segment of the greenway that is located on RDU land will be relocated such that trail continuity is maintained. Additional information including a video directly addressing the greenway can be found on RDU’s website and blog at: https://www.rdu.com/what-will-the-proposed-rdu-perimeter-fence-look-like/.
- Staff also noted that the existing quarry is shown on some maps as being within Cary’s “Land Plan Boundary.” The Land Plan Boundary designation is non-regulatory; it is an area outside of the corporate limits and ETJ into which the Town’s ETJ or corporate limits could one day expand, which historically occurs at the request of the property owner.
This information is also being communicated with the EAB. …”
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week included the following:
I wish everyone safe and happy holidays! In addition to celebrations with family and friends, I wish you peace and refreshment. I look forward to working with all of you in 2020.
As always, a special thanks to those 24/7/365 staff members who work when others celebrating. Thank you for your service to our community.
My next Weekly Report will be on January 3.
Dynamic Left Turn
NCDOT is partnering with Cary to install a Dynamic Left Turn Intersection at Cary Parkway and Tryon Road. This new left-turn concept will be the first of its kind in the United States. Dr. Joseph Hummer will provide before and after studies. Cary’s role is to observe the installation and provide feedback. Cary was selected because of its forward thinking and continuous search for excellence and improvement as well as for its capacity to review and monitor the intersection in real time with the fiber cable connection and Traffic Management Center. The intersection was chosen based on a combination of lane geometry, sight distances, and approach speeds.
Cary Chamber Report
Cary has an agreement with the Cary Chamber of Commerce for the implementation of its Economic Development Action Plan. The agreement specifies that a copy of the audited Cary Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Program financial statement should be provided to the Town Manager. A copy of the Cary Chamber of Commerce audited financial statements for the Economic Development Division ending August 31, 2018 and August 31, 2019 can be reviewed here.
NC 540 Land Acquisition
NCDOT has filed and served on the Town an eminent domain action to take approximately 3 acres of Town-owned land located along the northern portion of a parcel the Town acquired for Middle Creek Park. The condemned land lies within the NC 540 corridor and is being acquired for construction of that project. DOT deposited $53,225 with the Wake County Clerk as ‘just compensation’ for the taking. The Town has one year to file an answer should it seek to contest this amount. Staff plans to continue discussions with NCDOT with the goal of conveying the property in exchange for greenway interests in the same corridor.
Greenway and Open Space Funding Opportunity
Wake County is seeking funding proposals for greenway construction and for open space acquisition. The County will fund up to 50 percent of the costs excluding funding obtained through any other partners or grants (such as LAPP awards). The County is looking to fund shovel-ready construction projects for greenways which are prioritized in the County’s Greenway System Plan. Staff members propose combining the construction of three current (funded) greenway projects – Black Creek Phase V, Crabtree Creek Connector under Weston Parkway, and Crabtree Creek from Bond Park to High House Road – into one submittal for greenway funding. Staff is working to identify potential sites for inclusion in an open space request. Bond funds are anticipated as the source for matching funds.
While reimagining the purpose and procedures of Cary’s Housing Rehabilitation Program, staff members were challenged to address an urgent need. A Cary homeowner who had applied for rehabilitation assistance was living in a structure that was not safe nor healthy. During the initial site visit, staff immediately recognized that the program could not save the structure and that the homeowner needed assistance finding alternative housing. Staff worked to understand the adaptive issues with the homeowner, addressing the personal circumstances and preferences. After several emotional conversations and additional site visits, staff connected the homeowner with a real estate team that was interested in purchasing and remodeling the house. The homeowner received the equity, moved into an apartment, and graciously thanked Cary staff members for their commitment to his well-being. The home has since been completely renovated, resulting in a safer environment and happier neighbors.
Cary Asset Plan Highlighted
Municipal Water Leader Magazine recently published an article for their November/December 2019 edition that focused on Cary’s Buried Infrastructure Asset Management Plan. The article profiles Cary’s efforts to develop a comprehensive infrastructure asset management plan. Dave Hallgren, Utility Engineering Supervisor, was interviewed for the article and shared his thoughts and experiences with prioritizing assets to reduce risk, optimize maintenance and renewal, and reinforce fiscal responsibility. Dave also discussed the importance of condition assessment and updating the plan annually. Dave is currently engaged with integrating asset management with long term capital planning through the budget process.
NCAA College Cup
On Friday, December 13 and Sunday, December 15, Cary teamed up with Campbell University and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance to host, for the fifth time, the NCAA Men’s Soccer College Cup at WakeMed Soccer Park. [Cary has also hosted eight Women’s College Cups.] Public Works staff worked tirelessly to keep the field in pristine condition, including painting the College Cup logo on the Sahlen’s Stadium field. Mayor Weinbrecht and council members Frantz and George joined staff and the organizing committee on December 11 at The Umstead to welcome the NCAA Men’s Soccer Committee. On Thursday, the organizing committee, including Soccer Park supervisor Keith Jenkins, honored the student athletes at Prestonwood. The cold and rainy semi-finals on Friday night between Georgetown and Stanford and between the University of Virginia and Wake Forest University brought Georgetown and Virginia to the finals on Sunday night. Georgetown won the College Cup Final after two overtime periods, finally winning in the penalty kick round. Thanks to all staff and council who helped make these events a truly memorable experience for both the student athletes and the fans.
Regional Recycling Coordination
Recycling Supervisor Brandon Roberson and Environmental Communications Specialist Srijana Guilford joined representatives from neighboring municipalities, local universities, private haulers, and the two local MRF operators for the fourth Triangle MRFshed meeting. Cary is an active member of this group, helping launch and host the initial MRFshed meeting in February 2019 that sparked the collaborative effort to combat recycling contamination and streamline regional messages. With programmatic changes occurring across the region, the group reached consensus on materials that we all currently accept, how we describe those materials, and the language around how to properly prepare items for recycling. The next step is to explore how this “regional voice” can be incorporated into Cary’s communication outreach efforts to help reduce confusion and contamination for the entire region.
The structures at 7117 Carpenter Fire Station Road will be demolished next week leaving a clean slate for the future neighborhood park that is currently in design. Cary purchased this property to complete planned acquisitions for the park as well as for right-of-way for the Carpenter Fire Station Road widening. Prior to demolition, the Fire Department used the vacant house for training exercises.
Citizens Recognize Solid Waste Workers
So neat to see Cary citizens leaving holiday treats for their solid waste crews this week. This gesture not only demonstrates how special our citizens are but also shows how committed our crews are, 52 weeks a year, and how much they mean to our citizens. Visiting the streets of Cary every day, keeping them clean, picking up trash, recycling and yard waste, in the rain, cold, heat and snow, they will be there. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our Solid Waste crews. Thank you for all that you do.
Lego League Presentation
Six 4th and 5th graders from Cary participated in North Carolina’s first Lego League competition in Concord in late November. They received first place for Robot Design and for Core Values. Their team has been selected to compete at the state level in January. As a part of their project, they researched several problems that Town of Cary residents face in public spaces, specifically roads. They analyzed the accident metrics in Cary for the past few years and zeroed in the problem of accidents caused by distracted driving. The students then designed a solution, created a prototype and socialized their idea with Sun state security team, as well as officials from neighboring towns. The team presented their solution, design, and findings to Cary staff from Transportation & Facilities, Police, IT, Marketing and Planning. Their presentation included a skit, data sharing, product design, surveys, and next steps. Congratulations to the “City Scrapers Team 23236” for sharing their ideas. Good luck at the state competition!
The Cary Police Department was proud to partner with the Citizens Assisting Police (CAP) Team, Fishers of Men, Bass Pro Shop, Cary First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church of Cary, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Covenant Life Church, Cotton House, United States Veterans Corps, and Toys for ‘Lil’ Troops to create a community shopping experience for 41 children from 19 families as part of the Project PHOENIX.
Congratulations to Mayor Weinbrecht, this year’s vice-president of the Wake County Mayor’s Association.
The Cary Theater was recognized by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at their yearly gathering for hosting the national premiere of the movie “Feeling Through,” a groundbreaking film that featured a deaf-blind lead actor. This event was hosted in conjunction with the Helen Keller National Center and brought about 30 interpreters from all over the United States to provide specialized interpreting services for patrons with all levels of disability. The cast of the film was present and participated in a Q&A session following the film. The Cary Theater was honored to host the very first screening of this film, which went on to tour throughout the country and offered a diverse, powerful and inclusive opportunity for people with disabilities.
A big shout-out to Linda Hamilton, Police Support Services, for organizing another successful toy drive and to Jay Schubert and his special events crew, who delivered the toys to Interact which sponsored 600 women and children. I am so proud to be associated with such generous colleagues.
Advisory Board Meetings
December 23-27: No advisory board meetings/events.
December 30-January 3: No advisory board meetings/events.
Emails From Citizens
Emails from citizens this week included:
- Complaints about RDUAA’s rock quarry.
- A complaint about Google Fiber.
- A complaint about the pedestrian cross on Maynard at Godbold park.
- A concern about the future of the Wake Med Cross Country course.
- A complaint about the East Park Street and Walker Street intersection.
- A thank-you for the Ivey-Ellington house resolution.
Next week is a holiday week for me and I will be spending time with my family. My only work, other than meeting with the town manager and attending the Hanukkah ceremony, will be preparing for the 2020 State of Cary address. Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy New Year, and a Happy Holiday season.
Get In Touch
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, January 5th. 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.organd email personal comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Photos courtesy of Harold Weinbrecht and Hal Goodtree.