Memorial Day, Fenton Opens, and the Cary Fire Department parade

My Absence

Last week I was out of town on a family holiday with my entire family including my wife, both my daughters and my grandson. It was the first time we were all together for the family vacation in years. I apologize for missing the council meeting, but Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz did an excellent job.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day I joined the entire council, except council member Bush who was out of town on a family emergency, in remembering our veterans. The ceremony was emceed by council member Smith, the council’s only veteran. Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz read a proclamation. Gunnery Sergeant Jeff Sherman provided remarks. Master Gunnery Sergeant Russell Barber, a Silver Star recipient, was the main speaker. Quotes from his comments include:

“This isn’t simply a day off. This is a day to remember those others who paid for every breath you ever get to take.”

“Every hot dog, every burger, every spin around the lake, or drink with friends and family is a debit purchase by others. This is not about who served, that day comes in the fall. This one is in honor of those who paid in life and blood whose moms never saw them again, who’s dads wept in private, who’s wives raised kids alone, and who’s kids only remember them from pictures.”

It was truly an honor to be present among those who risked all for our freedom and those family members whose relatives gave their lives for us.

Town Manager One-On-One Meeting

Tuesday I met virtually with the town manager. Topics included the progress on finding a police chief, moving the retreat from August to accommodate new council members, our nondiscrimination ordinance, ideas on naming parks, the downtown parking study, future downtown parking decks, providing electricity to the Veterans Freedom Park, and the ITA Tennis Championships.

State Dinner

Wednesday I joined council member Robinson, council member Liu, Deputy Town Manager Overton, and Assistant Town Manager Curran in attending the 4th Annual Town and State Dinner held by the North Carolina League of Municipalities. It was an opportunity to meet legislators, municipal leaders, and municipal managers. I had the opportunity to meet several mayors from around the state like Mayor McLeod from Clayton who has been mayor since 2003, and Mayor Perry from Pittsboro who is dealing with rapid growth issues. It is my hope that the connections made will benefit all of us.

Fenton Ribbon Cutting

Thursday I had the joy of participating in the ribbon cutting for the Fenton. The $850 million project is the largest development in Cary’s history and the first vertically integrated development. It will be a true live-work-play destination. The event was emceed by Paul Zarian from Hines and included speakers Jeff Hines from Hines and Abbitt Goodwin representing Columbia development. I was the last of three speakers. The following is an excerpt from my remarks:

“…This project has been 7 years in the making since we were first approached by Columbia development. In 2017 we traveled out of state with the developer to visit other mixed-use projects throughout the country and experience the vision they had for our town.

We witnessed firsthand the energy of this type of mixed-use center, the resulting impacts it had on the surrounding communities, and showed us what was possible for Cary. And to see this vision materialize in our own backyard after years is exciting and rewarding. And it would never have happened without the years of hard work on by the developers, their partners, and the Town.

In addition to being an incredible destination, the Fenton is now the first thing visitors see when they enter Cary in the Eastern Cary Gateway. And it will play a very important role in the overall impression Cary makes on its visitors as they approach our downtown.

The Fenton is already serving as a catalyst for new development and investment in our community.

It is my hope that it will not only be one of the premier mixed-use destinations in the region, but it will also help to recruit and retain major companies in Cary like Apple or Epic Games.

To say that I am excited to have the Fenton in Cary is an understatement. It is a dynamic, pedestrian-friendly, first-class destination for shopping, dining, working, and living; and cements Cary’s position as one of the greatest places to live, work, and play in America.

Thank you to Hines, Columbia Development, USAA and all stakeholders for sharing and implementing their vision and our vision. Thank you for choosing Cary and believing in Cary. Most of all, thank you for your partnership in creating the next great place for our community and beyond.”

After speaking I was asked to stay on stage and was surprised with a birthday cake (it was my 66th birthday) and serenaded by hundreds of people. That was a first for me! This was followed by the ribbon cutting which included Jeff Hines, Abbitt Goodwin, Mark Lawson from the Cary Chamber, and me.

NC Metro Mayors

Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. Here is a summary of that meeting from the Executive Director:

General Update 

State BUDGET:  The Senior Appropriations chairs in the House and Senate appear to have reached general agreements on the topline spending and potential tax cuts for citizens.  The area chairs will be taking up their parts of the budget in the coming weeks as the General Assembly remains on course for the 2022 session to end in late June. 

Expanding Access to Healthcare (H149) passed the NC Senate this week.  It would expand Medicaid eligibility in NC, it would provide for greater coverage for telemedicine, modify the Certificate-of-Need program and other various changes.  The next stop various House committees of jurisdiction IF the House Republican Caucus decides to advance the bill. 

Compassionate Care Act (S711) passed the Senate this week.  This legislation would set up a rigorous medical cannabis program for select patients in North Carolina.  The fate of the legislation, like Medicaid expansion, now rests in the NC House, where its fate is still unclear. 


S793– Study Econ. Dlvr. Fee/Xfer Rev for Transport – a bill introduced by senior Republican (Sawyer and McGinnis) and Democratic (Woodard) Senate Transportation leaders to transfer a phased-in percentage of the state general fund sales tax revenue (2% year one, 4% year two and then 6% annually thereafter) to the Highway Trust Fund.  The legislation would tap the state sales tax revenues (not local sales tax) to shore up the long-term finances needed to support the state transportation infrastructure.  The bipartisan bill would use a share of state sales tax revenues (6% is a percentage loosely based on the total sales taxes generated by transportation related sales and use tax collections, such as tires, car repairs, auto parts, etc.) to help modernize transportation finance.  Additional funding will help with project delays in the current State Transportation Improvement Plan and prepare for the expected decline in gas taxes due to growing use of electric vehicles in the coming years.  While the idea of using state transportation related sales and use taxes for m transportation infrastructure has broad support in the Senate, and to a lesser degree in the House, the path forward is unclear at this time and energetic advocacy is needed to help push the concept forward now before the short session and the budget revisions are completed over the next two weeks or so. 

The NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition has been a long-standing advocate for additional transportation infrastructure investments – and next week we will circulate a “sign-on letter for mayors” to encourage this badly funding that supports our economy. 

Public Safety 

Discussion today on the MMC call included several various jurisdictions expressing interested in Civilian Traffic Enforcement.  A few jurisdictions have this authority now and others are working on local bills to seek that authority.  Further research and discussions are needed, and the Mayors Coalition will help facilitate collaboration and communications amongst interested members. 

Local Control/Local Revenues 

S372 – Electrical Contracting Licensure Mods. Here is the legislative analysis: We are working alongside the NCLM and the NC Department of Insurance to identify concerns for House representatives. 

H1095 – PFAS Pollution and Polluter Liability.  John McDonald, NCLM Senior Govt. Affairs Assoc. provided an overview of the legislation ( which prevents the various municipal and regional utility rate payers from being liable for the remediation of waterways that are contaminated with PFAS/PFOAs. 

The meeting concluded after about half an hour.

Podcast for Real Estate Investors

Friday I participated in a podcast for real estate investors. We talked for about an hour on things that happened last year, what will be happening this year, and my thoughts on what would happen in the future. It was a great talk and I hope the information was beneficial for those thinking about investing in real estate in Cary.

N&O Interview

Friday afternoon I was interviewed briefly by a reporter for the N&O. She wanted my thoughts on the opening of the Fenton. I talked about how this was a long process and some of the events and decisions that took place to get this project to come to fruition.

Boot Camp Fitness at the Fenton

Saturday morning I participated in a boot camp fitness class held at the Fenton sponsored by Athleta. The 45-minute class was a lot of fun and there were a couple of dozen in attendance.

National Trails Day

Later Saturday morning I joined a bike ride from Bond Park to Davis Drive Park and back as part of the National Trails Day. The group included Wake Commissioner Hutchinson, his wife, and others. I used one of the bike rentals at Bond Park for the ride. The rental bike had gears to make the ride easier, but I kept it in 1st gear for the workout. While the ride was only 3 ½ miles, I am sure I burned a few calories since the bike was soooo heavy.

To continue celebrating National Trails Day, I followed the bike ride with a 7 1/2-mile run on the Speight Branch greenway. Its main feature is circling the Tryon Lake and is one of my favorite places to run.

Cary Fire Department 100th Celebration Parade

Saturday afternoon I joined council members Smith, Robinson, and Yerha in the Cary Fire Department’s 100th Anniversary Celebration Parade. We rode in a vintage 1953 firetruck. Council member Yerha sat in the front and sounded the siren with a foot pedal button while the rest of us sat on the bench seat on the second row. After the ride we watched the rest of the parade which included more than 50 fire trucks from various parts of North Carolina. Benson even provided a horse drawn fire apparatus. If you like fire trucks this was a dream parade. Thanks for all the municipalities for participating in our celebration parade.

Town Manager’s Report

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Sean’s Message

Many ribbon cutting events come and go from our memory bank and some last a lifetime. This project is a tangible accomplishment of our culture and was acknowledged yesterday in the grand opening remarks. After years of collaboration between Council, staff, and the Fenton team the ribbon was cut at a mixed-use development that will differentiate Cary for years to come because of the meaningful standards each of you assisted in bringing to life. At times the process was challenging but, in the end, it was rewarding to see all of the conversations, inspections, negotiations, etc. was worth the energy and time. I am so happy for everyone involved and enjoyed connecting with many of the key players present at the grand opening event. This was definitely a ribbon cutting for the memory bank. 
Enjoy your weekend.

Development Pulse Report

The May 2022 Development Pulse Report is now available. Highlights include:

  • The Press, 2001 Evans Road: A building permit and a development plan have been submitted to demolish the interior of the former Oxford University Press Building and add parking to existing parking areas for a future warehouse and office use.
  • Cary Towne Center Building Pad Demolition, 1105 Walnut Street: The development plan was approved to continue demolition of the former Cary Towne Center building to remove the building pad and establish an area of soil and erosion control.
  • In May 2022, three rezoning cases were approved:
    • 21-REZ-21, Fenton Rezoning: The rezoning request clarifies additional flexibility for signage at the Fenton Development.
    • 21-REZ-15, 109 Appaloosa Trail Rezoning: The rezoning case establishes R40-CU zoning for the construction of one detached dwelling and connection to Cary’s water and sewer services.
    • 21-REZ-19, Estes Residential Rezoning: The case rezones six acres of property at 7824 Emery Gayle Lane from R40 to R12-CU to develop a maximum of 15 detached dwelling units.

Cary 101 Graduation

A group of 20 citizens graduated from Cary 101 after participating in a series of engaging presentations, activities, and facility tours over the last several weeks. Cary staff enjoyed sharing their work and passion with the group, and the students appreciated this opportunity to learn about Cary’s values, operations, and services. Mayor Pro Tem Don Frantz and Councilmember Jack Smith attended the graduation ceremony to thank these citizens for their interest in local government and to celebrate their accomplishment. The next Cary 101 program will be planned for Spring 2023.

Relaunching Neighborhood Improvement Program

Cary’s Neighborhood Improvement Grant Program awards up to $5,000 to neighborhood groups aiming to strengthen their community through beautification projects or other physical improvements. Throughout the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was paused for the safety of staff and residents. Staff used this time to evaluate and update the program guidelines, application, and agreement. After piloting two projects with these new program materials, staff are ready to begin accepting new applications. Interested neighborhoods may learn more about eligible projects and submit an application online.

Memorial Day

On Monday, May 30 over 600 Cary citizens gathered at Veterans Freedom Park to honor those that have fallen while defending our country. Council Member Jack Smith emceed the event and was joined by Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and Council Members Ed Yerha, Ya Liu, Jennifer Robinson, and Don Frantz. The program started off with patriotic music from The Cary Town Band and remarks from Jack Smith. Gunnery Sergeant Jeff Sherman and Master Gunnery Sergeant Russel Barber spoke on what Memorial Day means to them after a moment of silence was held for the fallen. The program concluded with a little more music and citizens reflecting inside the monument. It was one of the largest crowds we have had for our Memorial Day program.

Summer Garden Programs Are Growing

Cary’s summer garden education programs are growing strong with family-friendly open house events all summer long. Ongoing free education events are being hosted at Good Hope Farm, Carpenter Park Community Garden, and the Compost Education Center to help connect our community to local food. Participants can sample garden-fresh veggies and learn tips and tricks for growing a garden at home all while touring our beautiful urban agriculture facilities.

Solar Facility Acquisition

Cary is one step closer to owning the 1.8-MW solar facility at South Cary Water Reclamation Facility. Following Council’s review of the acquisition at the quarterly meeting on May 12, both parties including Cary and Cypress Creek Renewables signed an asset purchase agreement. The next step is completing all the business transactions required for closing, which is expected to be completed by fall 2022. Following the closing, Cary will be the new proud owners of the facility, which upholds our commitment to advancing renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions.  

National Tennis Month

In partnership with Western Wake Tennis Association, Cary hosted 10 community events during National Tennis Month in May. National Tennis Month is a designated time to drive awareness and bring new players into local tennis programs. In celebration, Cary hosted many events including the largest USTA adult spring league, abilities tennis clinics, wheelchair tennis clinics, youth tennis tournament, senior appreciation day, an open house for Dunham tennis courts, and began USTA adult summer leagues.

Runoff Elections

At their May 27 meeting, the Wake County Board of Elections approved Herb Young Community Center as an early voting location for the second primary and Cary municipal runoff election. Early voting will begin on July 7 and end on July 23, with the second primary and Cary municipal runoff election occurring on July 26. The three races to be determined are:

  • Town of Cary Town Council At-Large
  • Town of Cary Town Council District C
  • Democratic Party Sheriff’s Race

Full dates and times for early voting can be found here.

For questions about any aspect of the voting process, please contact the State Board of Elections.

Wake County Board of Elections
Phone number: (919) 856-6240
Chatham County Board of Elections
Phone number: (919) 545-8500
Durham County Board of Elections
Phone number: (919) 560-0700

Upcoming Meetings

Historic Preservation Commission

Wednesday, June 8
6:30 p.m.

Human Relations, Inclusion, & Diversity Task Force

Tuesday, June 7
6:00 p.m.

Economic Development Committee

Wednesday, June 8
5:15 p.m.

Council Meeting

Thursday, June 8
6:30 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Comments about affordable housing in the budget
  • A complaint about vaccinations required by the EPACT company used by the Parks Department
  • A complaint about EMS response times

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, an Economic Development Committee meeting, a council budget work session, a council meeting, a meeting of the NC Metro Mayors, a graduation address for 5th graders at Weatherstone Elementary, and remarks at the Urban Forest Master Plan Workshop.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, June 12th. 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 and email personal comments to

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