Monday I attended an economic development event by Enzyvant who announced that they will be headquartered in Cary and will refit a manufacturing facility in Morrisville to develop an in-house regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicines seek to replace tissue or organs that have been damaged by disease, trauma, or congenital issues. Enzyvant is a company that treats rare diseases in children. Their manufacturing facility is expected to be completed during the second half of 2024. Once completed the facility will provide the size, flexibility, and processing capability to serve the company’s commercial and clinical research needs for regenerative medicines.
At this event I provided remarks on behalf of the elected officials which included the Morrisville Mayor and several Morrisville council members. Other speakers included several individuals associated with Enzyvant.
During my visit I learned about one of their drugs recently approved that saves lives of children born without a thymus, which could cause profound immunodeficiency, vulnerability to potentially fatal infections and life-threatening immune dysregulation. To put it simply, without a thymus you have no immune system and can die from a cold. This drug is individualized, made in roughly two weeks, and then put inside the patient. The patient should then be protected for the rest of their lives. I am so proud that Enzyvant, a company that literally saves lives, is headquartered in Cary.
Town Manager One-on-One
Monday evening the town manager and I met virtually. Topics included the new Parks Director, the council appointment process, the future redevelopment of town hall campus, the future parking deck next to the Rogers, the downtown Christmas tree (which may be dying), and the downtown park.
Atlantic Tire Championships Board Meeting
Tuesday night I attended a meeting of the Atlantic Tire Championship board. We had two guest speakers, Kelly Gaines, the Executive Director of the NC Tennis Association and Doug McRainey, head of special parks projects including the tennis center expansion. Kelly provided information about running the Winston Salem Open while Doug provided information about the tennis center expansion. Afterwards the board reviewed the numbers for this past tournament and set meetings for the coming year. One interesting stat for this year was that attendance increased 58%.
Passing of Bob Matheny Former Zebulon Mayor
Tuesday I was notified that Bob Matheny, former mayor of Zebulon for 28 years had passed. He served in many roles including the President of the NC League of Municipalities. More than anything else he was a great guy and a friend. A person that I looked up to. I, along with many others, will miss him.
First Responders Breakfast
Wednesday morning I joined council members Liu and Johnson at the First Responders breakfast. Our keynote speaker was Cary resident Marjorie K. Eastman, author, veteran, and former candidate for U.S. Senate. Her address was very fitting for the Police, Fire, EMS, and Veterans in attendance. We appreciate her service and for her words to our heroes.
Economic Development Committee Meeting
Wednesday I participated in a meeting of Cary’s EDC (Economic Development Committee). The committee was recently expanded to include three new members. Each of the new members told a little bit about themselves and their experience. Cary is blessed to have EDC members with extensive corporate backgrounds.
The town manager reported on how the EDC might change to provide feedback on more business decisions. He recommended a half day meeting to flesh out ideas sometime in January.
Next the President of the Cary Chamber provided updates on the town’s economic activity for the last quarter. Here is a summary:
- MetLife is recruiting for 400 positions in software engineering, data science, cyber security, and service operations.
- Current pipeline includes 500 jobs and $1.4 Billion in Capital Investment potential
- Enzyvant announced 80 jobs in life science
- Development firm has planned to build of around 162,000 sq ft, of industrial space. It can be 2 buildings, or one large building. This developer is targeting late January 2023 to begin their grading and infrastructure work for their site.
- Another industrial build is near the airport. The tract is 142 acres and has 700,000 sq ft. The project is estimated to have their site plan approved in the next 4 to 6 months.
- A building formerly known as the old Oxford University Press company on Evans Road has been prepared as a shell space. This building is a great space for Life Science, Biotech, advanced manufacturing, and logistics.
- Class A office is still slow. There are some small opportunities for 15,000 to 45,000 sq ft. The best areas to accommodate needs are located in Downtown, Fenton, and Regency Park.
The town’s Economic Development Director asked the group to think about what information they would like him to present to the new EDC.
The next EDC meeting is scheduled for March 1st however the committee will try in meet within the next couple of months.
Thursday morning I did a video tapped interview which will be part of a larger taping of all council members, staff, and some members of the public. The answers to the questions will be part the annual council-staff retreat in February. Most of the questions were related to inspiration and what is inspirational to you.
The taping was done in the skybox of the Walker which overlooks the downtown park under construction. Of course, I had to have my picture made with the park in the background.
Roger’s Deck and Future Town Hall
Thursday afternoon I met briefly with the town manager and staff to discuss the appearance of the future parking deck that will be adjacent to the Rogers. It will be the same height as the Rogers and have a facade that will make it look nicer than a typical parking deck.
I also talked about the future of town hall campus with the town manager and staff. There were a lot of ideas being presented. I believe the future town hall campus should be like the rest of Cary, something special. We may see ideas brought forward next year.
Town Council Work Session
Thursday evening the council held a work session in the police department training room to discuss the Green Level Destination Center Planning Area and the Council District D vacancy appointment process.
The destination center presentation had representatives from the future Duke Hospital and multi-family developers adjacent to the hospital. The hospital wants to rezone to allow 500 beds instead of 100. Council members didn’t provide feedback that would object to this. The combined multi-family in the area would result in 2250 units which would be a significant change in density. There were concerns expressed about traffic and what this would do to nearby major intersections such as Highway 55 and High House Road. I expressed concerns about the worse case traffic scenario where the 2250 units would have 2 cars each with none working at the hospital or nearby facilities. This in addition to the 7500 jobs would create a minimum of 12,000 trips. I asked that data be presented during the public hearing on the premise that many workers adjacent to facilities actually work at those facilities. Other council members expressed concerns over walkability and the overall flow of the project. It will be interesting to see what is presented at the three public hearings (one for the hospital, and one each for the two multi-family projects).
The next part of the work session was the appointment process to potentially fill the seat left by Ya Liu once she goes to the NC House in January. The process was led by Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz. He asked each council member to pick their top two candidates for interviews. The results showed Sarika Bansal with 4 votes, Ryan Eades with 4 votes, Kengyeh Chu with 2 votes, and Cindy Sinkez with 1 vote. Council member Robinson made a motion that the council continue the process with the anticipation of appointing which passed 5 to 2. This is to let the candidates know that we aren’t going through the process with the intent of leaving the seat vacant. However, that option is still available after the interviews. There was a second motion by council member Bush to change the process to allow a third candidate for interview which failed. The next step will be to schedule interviews with the two finalists and the council. This may or may not happen before the end of the year.
Cary Christmas Parade
On Saturday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz, and council members Smith, Liu, and Johnson in the Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade. The parade was streamed on WRAL for the first time ever. I rode in a classic 1968 Cutlass with Former Planner Debra Grannan her husband, and my wife. For the first time we were not allowed to throw out candy, but fortunately for the kids along the route, Cary Teen Council Members walked along the edge of the road and handed out candy. There were many other safety measures added to this parade such as more space between entries. This caused the parade to last about 1 ½ hours. From my observations, this was the largest crowd ever. I hope to even see more people next year.
Town Manager’s Report
Think for just a minute about where you were and what you were doing when you heard that a shot had been fired inside Cary High School in October.
I was at the SAS Championship with the Mayor and Jack Smith.
Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting with many of the key responders to the incident and hear what it was like for them as they worked to keep kids safe while piecing the puzzle together that day.
Lillian Hamilton, Barnabas Edmonds, Jim Young, Albert Jones, Chris Bernhardt, Josh McCabe, Barbara Clemmons, Steve Wilkins, Doug Workman, Bradley Evans, and Ken Quinlan shared their “Secret Sauce,” so to speak.
Their success, then, now, and in the future – is being part of a teams that stay together for a long time. The 911 team. The SRO team. The Investigations team.
They can work together seamlessly with little to no explanation. They know context by the tone of a voice or a glance. They’ve built trust with each other and between teams over years of training and responding.
On all our behalf, I thanked them for their courage and commitment, and I promised to do everything we can to keep supporting them in their incredible work.
Heart of the Holidays
New milestones were reached this year for a number of Cary’s Heart of the Holidays programs. The Gifting Tree Project increased from 80 to 91 total participants and sold out within hours. More than 1000 people attended the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Town Hall featuring performances by nine different local groups, with Hometown Spirit Award winner Bob Moncsko flipping the switch. More than 600 Letters to Santa have already been dropped in Santa’s Mailbox, with Sunday as the final day. From record attendance at Heart of Holidays events to the throngs coming downtown to take in the lights, it is clear citizens are enjoying the holiday spirit.
On Tuesday, I met with my Cary colleagues for our quarterly All Hands. This gathering served as an opportunity to celebrate Cary’s recent recognition by Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) as the best place to work in local government. I also shared my thoughts on a variety of topics, including Cary’s new Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources director and the ongoing implementation of our new ERP system. We wrapped up with a visit from Rashonda Harris and Stephanie Reed who discussed their recent work through Cary’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It’s hard work, but they are a great team to help build the organization’s DEI muscle.
Black Creek Sewer Rehab – Moving to the Next Phase
Over the past several months, crews have been rehabilitating sewer lines and manholes along the Black Creek Greenway between W. Dynasty Drive and North Cary Park. They are currently finishing restoration and cleanup along this section of the project. The greenway along this corridor is scheduled to reopen to the public on Tuesday, December 13th. At the same time, our sewer rehabilitation contractors are relocating their operations to the next phase of sewer infrastructure for rehabilitation between North Cary Park and the Crabtree Creek Greenway. This will require closure of the Black Creek Greenway in the construction zone until Spring 2023. Current information regarding the status of the greenways, including detour routes, is available here.
Cary Chamber of Commerce First Responders Breakfast
On December 7, Cary Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual First Responders Breakfast at Prestonwood Country Club, and staff from police, fire, and emergency communications were in attendance. Other regional first responders included Wake County EMS, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, and regional hospital staff were recognized for their service. Veterans from American Legion Post 67 were also on hand and recognized for their service. The show of appreciation by the local business community was greatly appreciated by Cary staff.
Solar Energy Continues to be a Hot Topic in Cary
Although temperatures are cooling down, solar energy continues to be a hot topic for Cary residents. A Solar Energy virtual lunch-and-learn attracted 65 registrants who enjoyed a presentation from industry experts and Cary staff. Solar education supports our ongoing designation from the Department of Energy as a Gold Level SolSmart community and our recent regional partnership in the Solarize the Triangle program. While SolSmart focuses on reducing barriers to accessing solar installation, Solarize the Triangle provides reduced pricing through group purchasing options via a collaboration with the Triangle J Council of Governments. Since the start of the program in August, 546 kW of renewable solar power have been purchased through 59 homeowner contracts. Once completed, these installations will mitigate over one million pounds of CO2 per year which is equivalent of 100 gas-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year.
Director Leadership Dialog
On Monday, our Director Group gathered for a final Director Leadership Dialogue of 2022. As with other dialogues, this three-hour session was facilitated by our partners at CRA | Admired Leadership®. The discussion centered on decision-making and collaboration, with a particular focus on how Directors can model and teach these skills and behaviors in their respective teams and departments. In addition, we used the opportunity to discuss priority topics for the group to focus on as we continue these conversations in 2023.
NCAA College Cup 2022
Multiple departments have been working to prepare for the 2022 NCAA College Cup at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Women’s event ended with an electric atmosphere in overtime crowning UCLA as champions in front of a record finals crowd in Cary of 9,510 which also aired on ESPN. The Men’s semifinals are set for December 9 at 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. with the finals on Monday, December 12 at 6:00 p.m. Reduced ticket prices are being advertised through local soccer clubs, Cary Chamber and other promotions such as Groupon for the championship game.
Victorian Christmas at the Paige-Walker
On Saturday, December 3, the Page-Walker Arts & History Center was filled with holiday cheer for the Victorian Christmas. More than 500 people attended the event, and enjoyed cookies and cider, music by the Triangle Folk Ensemble and Victorian Carolers, the beautifully decorated historic hotel, kids crafts, visits with Father Christmas, and the return of the horse-drawn carriage rides. The event was a delightful lead-in to the Christmas Tree lighting at Town Hall.
NC One Water Conference Recognition
Cary’s wastewater collection and water distribution systems were both recognized this week at the NC One Water Association annual conference in Charlotte as top performing large wastewater collection and water distribution systems. This is the fourth consecutive year that Cary has been named number one in the state for the Wastewater Collection System Award and the fifth consecutive year that Cary has been recognized for the Water Distribution System award. Cary also placed second in the best tasting water contest. At the same time, Senior Project Manager, Betsy Drake, was recognized with the prestigious Golden Manhole Award for her many years of service to the NC One Water Association. Cary staff continue to be inspired to do their best in managing and maintaining our water and wastewater services.
Mobile Surveillance Trailers Go in Service
Fire and Police staff completed a training on operating the Town’s four newly acquired mobile surveillance trailers. They are now in service and available to be deployed for special events or other situations that call for mobile monitoring, such as this weekend’s parade. Credentialed personnel can access the video feed and control other features, such as camera angles, speakers, and lights, via a website.
Dec. 12 at
Dec. 12 at
Environmental Advisory Board
Dec. 13 at
Public Art Board
Dec. 13 at
Cultural Arts Committee
Dec. 14 at
Dec. 14 at
Dec. 15 at
- An ongoing complaint that a crime was committed by someone who placed an “offensive” ornament on one the trees lining Academy.
- A complaint about the repaving process for Fairlane Road
- A request for contact information with Bojangles so that they could open a franchise
- A question about short term rentals in Cary
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting with the NC Tennis Association Board, Council pictures, Farewell dinner with Ya Liu, and the last regularly scheduled council meeting of the year.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 18th. 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.