Ed Yerha’s last meeting, Carissa Johnson’s first meeting, and Project Bluebird

Carissa Johnson meeting

Carissa Johnson was elected to take the At-Large seat on council at the end of July. She has been meeting with staff to get up to speed on council issues. Before her swearing in on Thursday we met virtually for about an hour to talk about a variety of things to help her prepare. I look forward to working with her and all the ideas Carissa will bring to the table on how we can better serve our citizens.

Regular Meeting Prep

Monday I attempted to contact each council member to hear of concerns or questions about the upcoming agenda. Later in the day I met with staff to go over the agenda, The agenda was mostly organizational, so our meeting was brief.

Town Manager One-On-One

Later Monday I met with the town manager for our weekly one-on-one. Topics included one of our sports venues, our brand implementation, the Duke Health project, the Epic Games project, and the Fenton project.

Chicago Trip

Tuesday I joined a few staff members and our chamber president on a trip to Chicago for project “bluebird”. If we are successful in our attempts this will be another great economic win for Cary. I hope to be able to talk about this further in the future.

The presentation, complete with a professional video, was as good as it gets. I am so proud of our staff and the chamber. If we don’t win project “bluebird” it is not because we didn’t put forth our best effort.

After the presentation we had about five hours before our flight. I took that opportunity to visit Chicago’s Millennium Park. It is an amazing park with so much to offer. One of my favorite experiences was having my picture made in front of the “bean”.

The Cary delegation returned from Chicago after midnight. While it was a tough day, I believe it was well worth the visit. As Cary becomes more of a potential home for national and international businesses, I expect we will be doing more of these.

Council Meeting

Thursday was the last council meeting of August and the last council meeting for Ed Yerha.

Mr. Yerha moved here in 1995 and got involved almost immediately. He as served Cary for over 25 years, the last 10 as a council member. His resume includes:

  • Planning and Zoning Board, 1998-2004, Chairman 2000-2004
  • Sister Cities Commission, 2004-2010, Vice-Chairman 2009-2010
  • Zoning Board of Adjustment, 2010-2012
  • Town Center Area Plan Advisory Committee, 2000-2001
  • Historic Preservation Master Plan Advisory Committee
  • Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel, Board of Directors, 2000-present, President 2010-2012
  • Cary Town Council, 2012-2022

Not only has Ed Yerha been a great servant for Cary citizens, but he has also been a great friend to many, including me. Bless you Ed! Thank you for over a quarter of a century of service!

The meeting began with a Cary historic moment from Ed Yerha, parting words from the council to Mr. Yerha, and the adoption of the agenda. Then the organizational meeting started with the swearing in of Jennifer Robinson and Carissa Johnson. Jack Smith, who was home with the flu, will be sworn in on September 8th.

Don Frantz was reelected to serve as Mayor Pro-Tem until 2023. Cary elections are normally held in odd years. This year was an exception since the census data was late and the legislature mandated that we hold our elections in May and our runoff at the end of July. So rather than have a new Mayor Pro-Tem for one year, it makes sense for Mr. Frantz to continue as Mayor Pro-Tem.

After the election of Mayor Pro-Tem, I made my appointments of council to various positions within and outside our jurisdiction. There were at least a couple of dozen.

This was followed by our Town Crier from Markham, Canada, John Webster. His appearance is always fun part of the meeting and an incredible addition to Lazy Daze which began on Saturday. Thanks to John and Mary Webster for their continued support and their friendship.

After the town crier I recognized and read a proclamation honoring Cary All-Stars who won a state title against other all-star teams in the state and nearby states. I had a great time meeting with them before the meeting and was proud to present them with a proclamation.

The business part of the meeting included four consent items, two public hearings, and one discussion item. Under discussion the council approved $2.2 million in sidewalk improvements which included segments on West Chatham Street, Lake Pine Drive, and Ryan Road.

After a closed session, our meeting concluded with a total time of a little over two hours.

Town Manager’s Report

The Town Manager’s report for this week included:

Sean’s Message

Last night’s Council meeting was truly special as we honored outgoing Council Member Ed Yerha, and we recognized the re-election/election of Council Members Jennifer Bryson Robinson and Carissa Kohn-Johnson. As great as it was, it simply wasn’t the same without Council Member Jack Smith, and we’re hoping he will feel much better soon as we look forward to swearing him in on September 8.
As we all learned together from Ed last night, the 10 year plus tenure of our Council is amazing and unprecedented! As a career city manager, I can say without a doubt that this tenure reflects not only the commitment and good intentions of each council member, but also the recognition by our citizens’ of the council’s exemplary accomplishments.
When we closed Town Hall early today, I was reminded of our organization’s extraordinary ability to collaborate on the biggest things, with Lazy Daze being chief among those examples. I know you join me in being grateful to our staff, contractors, vendors, and artists who are making another weekend in Cary amazing.
As a reminder, Lazy Daze is two full days this year, and I’m assured there will be plenty of ice on hand to keep you cool.
Stay safe and have fun!

Cary All-Star Baseball Team Receives Proclamation

At Thursday’s Council meeting, the mayor presented a proclamation on behalf of Council to Cary’s 11-12 All-Star baseball team. The 11-12 All-Star team was composed of 16 players selected from 213 league participants at the end of the regular season, and they played in the Statewide Athletics Committee Tournament in Nash County. The Cary team played five games in the tournament, scoring over forty runs, and won the championship game.

New Capacity Building Program for Housing Nonprofits

Cary is proud to announce the launch of our first capacity building program for housing and community development nonprofits in Cary. In partnership with the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, this program will cover topics including board governance, strategic communications, fundraising, partnerships and collaboration, and financial management. Additionally, individuals who complete the program can apply their 15 credit hours earned towards the Duke University Certificate in Nonprofit Management.

Through this program, Cary hopes to strengthen nonprofits’ foundational management practices, allowing them to focus their resources on the services and support they bring to Cary residents. Empowering our nonprofits by equipping them with capacity building opportunities is a key initiative of the Cary Housing Plan. Applications will be open through October 31; we invite Cary nonprofits working in housing and community development to apply. Please contact Morgan Mansa at morgan.mansa@townofcary.org for more information.

New Treasurer Appointed

There is a unique wrinkle in the law that requires a municipality’s Treasurer to take an oath and be sworn – not unlike the Council and a few other staff members. We congratulate Finance Director Kimberly Branch on stepping up to ensure that one of the most important things in Cary, our finances, remain robust.

Town Hall Parking Change

To ensure that Council, visitors, and staff who come to Town Hall for an occasional meeting have convenient places to park, we’ve designated spaces at the South Entrance as 2-hour parking, weekdays from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. You’ll notice a sign displaying this information at the entrance to the lot as well as the painted message on each space. This still leaves plenty of convenient parking available to staff whose day-long work assignment is at Town Hall.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

During their annual trip to Cary for Lazy Daze, Town Crier duo, Mary and John Webster attended a luncheon held by Cary and Cary Sister Cities at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center in celebration of their arrival. The Town Crier also delivered his signature cry to open Thursday’s Council Meeting.

Interactive Sidewalk Map

With over 40 sidewalk projects in the works totaling 8.3 miles and an investment of $21.6 million, Cary is actively working on enhancing pedestrian mobility and safety. Interested in learning more about the sidewalk projects near your neighborhood, school, or workplace? Transportation’s Civil Design team developed an interactive map on Cary’s website where citizens can zoom into their area of interest to find information on project limits, status, and connections to existing sidewalks.

Hometown Spirit Award Nomination

The nomination period for the annual Hometown Spirit Award is now open through September 22. Nominees must be age 21 or older and should demonstrate qualities like helping neighbors, showing hospitality, promoting a sense of community, or displaying patriotism. A panel will select the winner after the nomination period ends. The top three nominees will be recognized at a reception and the winner will be announced during the November 17 Council meeting. Visit townofcary.org/spirit for more information.

WakeMed Corporate & Community Health Program

Last week Bond Park Challenge Course staff offered a leadership development program for Wake Med Corporate & Community Health. The group was excited to try out the new course and very appreciative that Cary and Wake Med can continue to collaborate in such impactful ways. For more information about Bond Park Challenge Course click here.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A thank you to staff at the South Cary Water Reclamation Facility
  • A complaint about the lack of access across the railroad at Reedy Creek
  • A complaint about the Cary Tennis Park court reservation system
  • A request for Rose Park to have pickleball
  • A complaint about police not allowing children to play in the fountain at town hall on Lazy Daze (Health requirements and liability issues prohibit this)

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, an Atlantic Tire Tennis Championship meeting, an interview with Invest: Raleigh Durham, a taping of Cary Matters, a photo for an Independent Weekly story, and a NC Metro Mayors meeting.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, September 4th. 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 augustanat@mindspring.com.

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