Preparing for Council Meeting
Monday I attempted to contact all council members to learn of any questions or concerns about the agenda later in the week. The only concern was about the Macedonia rezoning which proposed to remove the age restriction from the proposal for multi-family. Later in the day I met with staff members to review the agenda.
Council’s staff review
Three Cary staff report directly to the council, the town manager, the town attorney, and the town clerk. The review of the town manager was last week after the quarterly meeting. The review of the town attorney and town clerk were held on Monday night. The process consists of a report from each that includes accomplishments and plans. The council hears from each and asks questions. After the review the council determines the performance level and salary. We are blessed to have three outstanding employees that are the best of the best.
Park Director Candidate Review
Tuesday morning I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz and Council Member Bush in a review of the final two candidates for the Parks Director job. This is a town manager appointment, but at the town manager’s invitation we provided input as part of the process which included assessment panels and many other interviews. I was very impressed by both finalists.
Chinese Lantern Festival Preview
Tuesday I had the honor of flipping the switch to turn on the lights for the Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary that will run from November 18th until January 8th. The preview party included elected officials, board and commission members and their families, and town staff and their families. There are over 15,000 LED lights in this year’s lantern display which took several weeks to set up. The lanterns traveled from Zigong in the Sichuan Province of China and arrived in 19 tractor-trailers. To find out more about this year’s Chinese Lantern Festival click here.
CAMPO Executive Board Meeting
Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (CAMPO) Executive Board. CAMPO is the regional transportation planning organization serving Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, and Wake Counties. CAMPO is an entity required by the federal government to receive federal dollars. There are 19 MPOs in North Carolina.
Our agenda for this meeting had 5 consent items, 1 public hearing, and 6 discussion items. The executive board unanimously approved:
- Amendment 10 to the FY2020-FY2029 Transportation Improvement Plan (Sadly many projects have been removed from this plan due to lack of funding)
- Option 2 which adds auxiliary lanes to the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) to create a safer merge operation and add capacity. Crossroads Junction projects, that border Crossroads and South Hills, will be constructed as a one design-build project in 2026.
- The master agreement for CAMPO LPA (Lead Planning Agency). Authorized CAMPO Executive Board to execute any necessary additional or supplementary agreements to implement the LPA transition
Our meeting concluded after about two hours.
2027 World University Games Awarded to South Korea
In an email to elected officials and supporters of bringing the World University Games to this area (including Cary) in 2027, the Chairman and CEO of the NC Bid Committee notified us that the games would go to South Korea. Here is an excerpt from that email:
“North Carolina USA World University Games Supporters:
As you have probably heard by now, your Bid Presentation Team in Brussels, Belgium, this past weekend, unfortunately, did not bring home the 2027 World University Games to North Carolina. … it is important to keep in mind that this is the first time in history that North Carolina has ever been at this level internationally for a global event of this magnitude. And everyone on this email and all the execs who represented you in Brussels brought their A-game — and all of us can be very proud of that! We made a name for North Carolina and the USA and everything was done in a first-class manner. No regrets.
TWO IMPORTANT ASPECTS:
1)Team Effort: We could not have achieved what we did without everyone coming together as a fantastic, collaborative Team NC USA! An emphatic THANK YOU to all!
2)The Effort Continues: The good news is that it’s not over until it’s over and North Carolina is currently being considered for the 2029 Games — and if NC is awarded such, it will come about thankfully without having to go through another bid process!
In short, there is still a possibility of landing the World University Games, so we want everyone who has helped get us to this point, to hang in there a little longer just in case the Games end up coming our way.
In the meantime, we wish everyone a joyous Thanksgiving as we have much to be thankful for when it comes to North Carolina’s amazing, world-class 2027 FISU World University Games bid!”
Hometown Spirit Award Reception
Thursday evening I had the pleasure of being the emcee of the Hometown Spirit Award reception. The Hometown Spirit Award is given each year to a Cary citizen who enhances the quality of life in Cary by preserving, promoting, and carrying out positive and quantifiable, traditional small-town community values and traits. I introduced the three finalists and read what their nominators said about them. Here is a little about each of the nominees:
Michael’s nominators describe him as having a lifelong commitment and dedication to serving Cary; a person who steps forward when called on. Michael has contributed to the business and philanthropic life of Cary through the Curran Family Foundation and the construction of the Triangle Aquatic Center (“TAC”), a nonprofit public aquatic facility. His nominators shared that with the support of the Curran Family Foundation, TAC addresses the health, safety, recreation, and competition needs of Cary citizens and aquatic organizations. Michael has tens of thousands of volunteer hours over the past 15 years, providing leadership as both chair and interim executive director for the Triangle Aquatic Center.
Bob’s nominators said that he shares his time and expertise to better the lives of others though the Cary Senior TechEd, one of the clubs at the Cary Senior Center. In his volunteer role of Technical Director, he has brought the Cary Senior Center lab up to date, established a help desk, maintain the Cary Senior TechEd website, and has worked with Cary staff to upgrade the Senior Center internet and install Smart TV technology in classrooms.
Bob’s nominators described him as a Renaissance man, being thoroughly knowledgeable on many subjects and having the gift of explaining details to others on a level they can understand, while being caring and humorous. His nominators said he made them better teachers, organizers, researchers, and computer operators under his guidance. And while he is always willing to help, he blocks time each day to visit his 99-year-old mother for lunch.
Don’s nominators shared that since April 2020, he has reported an amazing 952 hours of volunteer service at The Center for Volunteer Caregiving!
At the Center for Volunteer Caregiving, Don volunteers in their caregiver respite program and also as a volunteer driver, which gives family caregivers a much-needed break from taking care of a loved one 24/7. Don’s nominators said he is praised regularly by families for all the help and care he provides to those he assists.
His nominators also shared that when he starts a new volunteer assignment, he develops a relationship with both the caregiver and the care receiver, earning their trust and building comradery. He explores the care receiver’s interests to find something in common that he and the care receiver can share.
Don has also volunteered in the past as a coach, Cub Scout leader, high school mentor, and with the Miracle League of the Triangle.
After the reception, those in attendance went to the council meeting where the winner was announced by the 2021 winner, Sarah Martin. The 2022 Hometown Spirit Award winner was Bob Moncsko. Congratulations to Bob and all our finalists.
Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of November. The agenda included two special presentations, eight consent items, four public hearings, two discussion items, and a closed session.
The first presentation was the Hometown Spirit Award announcement by Sarah Martin.
The second presentation was from AARP representatives who recognized Cary as an Age Friendly Community. This designation resulted from a letter I sent to the AARP in August with the following efforts:
- Making outdoor spaces and buildings more senior friendly
- Increasing the accessibility and affordability of transportation and housing
- Increasing access and opportunities for social participation and inclusion through programs that promote ethnic and cultural diversity
- Supporting work and volunteer opportunities
- Improving/increasing access to communications and information
We are honored to have this designation and are grateful for our Senior Advisory Board for their foreword thinking, dedication, and commitment to see this initiative through.
After presentations and Public Speaks Out the council unanimously approved the consent agenda which included:
- Disposal of Surplus Personal Property $30,000 or More
- Establish a Special Operating Fund to Support Parking Operations
- Adjustment to Adopted Meeting Schedule
- Council Recommended Economic Development Committee Appointments
- 21-REZ-18 921 SE Maynard Road Rezoning and Statement of Consistency
- 22-REZ-12 Brookstone Community Association and Statement of Consistency
- 22-A-12 Brookstone Community Association Annexation
- ACT 26 Town Code and Land Development Ordinance Amendments (Technical and Minor)
The public hearings for the Swift Creek Elementary School rezoning and the Legacy on Twyla Road annexation had no speakers. In the public hearing for Green Level Church Road concerns were expressed about traffic and other issues. Council members expressed concerns that this is not a transition since it is surrounded by single family neighborhoods. The public hearing for the Laurel Street affordable housing developer agreement had several speakers urging the council to support. Since the council initiated this affordable housing project that was not an issue and was approved unanimously.
The discussion item for the Macedonia rezoning from age restricted to market apartments was moved to the December 15th meeting at the developer’s request. The discussion item for a downtown social district, mostly the downtown park, had questions about enforcement and neighboring housing to the district. After a thorough discussion it was unanimously approved and will take effect when the park opens which is scheduled for June 1st.
After a closed session our meeting concluded after about three hours.
Waverly Tree Lighting
Friday night I joined council member Jack Smith in the annual tree lighting at Waverly Place. I was introduced by Craig Woolard whose band was performing. I talked to the crowd about Read and Feed and then introduced the Athens Drive High School Marching Band who performed Christmas music.
BTW, the Athens Drive High School Band will be performing at the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC in May of next year. To pay for expenses they have partnered with Dewey’s Holiday store in Waverly Place to raise money. To show your support please buy holiday treats at Dewey’s.
After the band’s performance I introduced Santa and Mrs. Claus to the stage. They said a few words and we did a countdown from 10 before Santa threw magic dust on the tree to light it. My wife and I posed for a picture with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and council member Smith and his wife before leaving.
Fenton Tree Lighting
Saturday night I had the honor of participating in the first annual tree lighting event at Fenton. I, along with General Manager Rob Canepa, gave welcoming remarks. I then spoke about their partnership with Read and Feed before introducing the Cary Dance Production’s Sugarplums who performed a dance routine. Then we brought Debra Morgan of WRAL, Santa, and Mrs. Claus to the stage. They did the countdown and flipped a switch to light the tree. Fenton square was packed with people on their ice rink and in the square. It was a great event which should get better every year. Parking was an issue because their 400-space deck was not ready in time. It should be opened soon.
Town Manager’s Report
One of my favorite Cary events – the Chinese Lantern Festival – is back at Koka Booth Amphitheatre for its 7th season.
It opens tonight at 6 p.m. and runs nightly through Sunday, January 8.
There will be new lanterns as well as new entertainment.
Last year we hosted more than 200,000 visitors from several states, and we expect that number to increase, assuming the weather cooperates.
Because the lines to buy tickets at the gate can be long, and given that tickets sometimes sell out, we encourage visitors to purchase tickets online at boothamphitheatre.com.
Many thanks to Interim Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Director Allison Hutchins, Cultural Arts Manager William Lewis, and the entire team at Koka Booth Amphitheatre as well as our public safety professionals for all of the work that has, and will, go into making this year’s festival our very best.
Have a good weekend.
Hometown Spirit Award Winner
Last night the 2022 Hometown Spirit Award was awarded to Bob Moncsko. The Hometown Spirit Award is bestowed annually on a Cary citizen who enhances the quality of life in Cary by preserving, promoting, and carrying out positive and quantifiable traditional small-town community values and traits. Moncsko volunteers with Cary Senior TechEd, a club at the Cary Senior Center. In his volunteer role of Technical Director, he has brought the Cary Senior Center lab up to date, established a help desk, and maintains the Cary Senior Technology Education website. In addition to Moncsko, this year’s finalists included Michael Curran and Don Seay.
Dominion Energy Gas Line Replacement Project
Staff is still in the process of working with Dominion Energy on a gas line replacement project along E. Chatham St. A new 12″ steel gas line will be installed, replacing an existing 8″ gas line, along Reedy Creek Rd. adjacent to Fire Station #2 and along E. Chatham St. from Reedy Creek Rd. to the Dominion Energy facility just east of NE Maynard Rd.
The project started on October 27 as night work but due to unforeseen circumstances with obtaining asphalt during the nighttime hours, the project has switched to daytime hours starting on November 15. Dominion Energy has two (2) active crews working during work hours to help with completing the project in a timely manner. Lane shifts and/or closures to be expected.
This week, 60 employees participated in on-site leadership workshops led by Executive Leadership Coach Mark Robertson. In recent years, Mark has helped us learn and embrace leadership fundamentals and behaviors that support our organization’s culture and values. The workshops were extremely beneficial for staff at all levels to have open and vulnerable dialogue about commitment and accountability, and how to have conversations and relationships that lead to greater impact and clarity. We always find value in having Mark share his expertise with our future leaders.
Adaptive Leadership Group Explore Challenge Course
This year’s Adaptive Leadership Seminar cohort had a unique opportunity to explore the Bond Park Challenge Course. Participants spent an afternoon navigating a series of quests designed to incorporate themes and concepts from Leadership on the Line. Activities were carefully curated to illustrate opportunities to turn up the heat, get on the balcony, manage hungers, and more. Special thanks to Outdoor Recreation Program Supervisor Emily Boykin for her creativity and hospitality.
Cary – RTP Rapid Bus Extension Comment Period
CAMPO is seeking comments on the Wake BRT: Rapid Bus Extensions Study draft results and recommendations. The planned Wake BRT: Western Corridor will connect downtown Raleigh to downtown Cary, and the proposed Rapid Bus service will extend to include the area between Cary and the Research Triangle Park. After reviewing the information on the study website, comments can be provided by email at WakeBRTExtensions@publicinput.com or by phone at 1-855-925-2801, using code: 7804. Comments must be provided by December 16. Please contact Kelly Blazey, Transit Administrator, with any questions.
Reid Kinlaw Recipient of NC Tennis Award
Reid Kinlaw, the Head Tennis Professional – Community Tennis, is the 2022 recipient of the NC Educational Merit Award given by Buster and Karen Brown through the North Carolina Tennis Association. This award recognizes an individual who has developed an outstanding tennis initiative, which provides leadership and inspiration in junior programming for schools, colleges, parks, and playgrounds and benefits the growth of tennis. Additionally, it was recently announced that Reid won the Educational Merit award for the Southern Tennis Association. He will be traveling to Atlanta in January to accept the award at the Southern Tennis Association Awards luncheon.
Cary Firefighters Give Back to the Community
In the spirit of the season, we are grateful to our fire crews for serving our community both as first responders and as contributors to the wellbeing of those who struggle with food security. This week wrapped up the final summer produce harvest of tomatoes and peppers planted by crews and community volunteers at 8 fire station gardens. In addition to using produce for shift meals, the firefighters have donated more than 130 pounds of fresh produce to Dorcas Ministries Food Pantry since July.
Trash and Tech
Over the last eight months, Cary built a partnership with NCSU to support its research and development of technology to improve identification and characterization of waste stream organics. Cary started providing waste samples to help the research team build datasets based on a variety of factors, including the chemical composition of the material. Samples will be provided seasonally till the end of the fiscal year. Cary is excited to support this advanced research that will help train an AI-driven system that could ultimately be used to inform decisions on the quality of material that can be used in waste-to-energy conversion.
Red Ribbon returned in 2022 as teens helped promote the message to say no to drugs. Twenty-one posters were selected as finalists with the top 3 chosen from each of Cary’s 7 middle schools. This year the theme was ‘Celebrate Life. Live Drug Free.‘ There was a ceremony hosted for the finalists on November 10 by the school resource officers of Cary’s middle schools as they awarded the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes for each school. Ada M. from West Cary Middle was selected the overall grand prize winner. The posters are currently on display at the Herbert C. Young Community Center through November 24.
This past week Patrick Duffy and Paul Kuhn were invited to the GRELOC (Greater Raleigh Esports Local Organizing Committee) Summit to participate in training of Esports coaches and share information on Cary facilities which could host Esports events in the future. This summit was held in conjunction with the Fortnite Champion Series Invitational in Raleigh with $1,000,000 prize pool. While at the summit, staff received a preview of the facility setup for the Fortnite event and learned about some of the other statewide initiates in the works.
ACC Championship Soccer
In the past two weeks, four soccer matches were played attracting a total of 8,755 spectators to WakeMed Soccer Park for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships! The stadium was wrapped with branding from the ACC and provided the perfect backdrop to utilize the new Cary brand. Fans traveled from all over the East Coast to explore Cary and experience one of the nation’s soccer treasures, with schools playing from North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and New York. The ACC Championships served as a good precursor to the NCAA Men’s and Women’s National Championships in early December.
Kildaire Farm Road Workshop
On Thursday, November 17, a multi-departmental team held a workshop at the Cary Urban Design Studio to discuss the future of the Kildaire Farm Road Corridor. The workshop featured interactive engagement activities and a bus tour to see the corridor real time. There was important discussion on creating a safe environment for pedestrians and bikes, ways to manage vehicular traffic including interactions with transit facilities and fostering a special sense of place. This workshop was a key touch point as staff continue work in imagining the possibilities along Kildaire Farm Road.
Neighborhood Rezoning Meetings
The Neighborhood Meetings will be held virtually on WebEx from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. The following cases will be discussed on December 7, 2022:
For more information and to register visit the Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning Meeting page.
Cultural Arts Committee
Nov. 23 at 6:00 p.m.
Planning and Zoning Board
Nov. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
- A police matter related to a person with mental illness
- A complaint about a proposed rezoning 21-REZ-16 on Old Apex Road
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting with Connections Academy Middle School students, a meeting of the Wake County mayors, and Thanksgiving.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 27th. 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.