Wake County Mayors Association
Monday night I met with the mayors of Wake County in Cary. Attending were mayors from Cary, Fuquay Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville, Wake Forest, and Wendell. Our special guests were Congresswoman Deborah Ross, and Congressman Wiley Nickel. The congressional members talked about the new congress and how they saw things proceeding. They vowed to continue to work with each of the municipalities. Once our congressional leaders left the mayors talked briefly about ongoing projects in their towns. Like Cary, each of them is likely to see a transformation in the next few years.
Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force
Tuesday I attended a meeting of the Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force. In their previous meetings they held brainstorming sessions to come up with ideas of where to begin focus. At this meeting they attempted to narrow the focus more. Based on the almost two-hour discussion, one of the big efforts will be communication with citizens on a variety of issues. This task force meeting was one of the most intelligent, articulate, and polite meetings I have ever witnessed. I am confident that their recommendations will lead to meaningful changes.
CAMPO Executive Board
Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board. The agenda included four consent items and four discussion items. The consent items were approved unanimously and included minutes, the Wake Bus Plan Project Prioritization Policy, Safety Performance Measures and Targets for 2023, and the endorsement of the Paved Trails and Sidewalk Feasibility Grant application.
The first discussion item was the election of officers. Mayor Vivian Jones of Wake Forest was elected as the Chair and Butch Lawter of the Johnston County Commissioners was elected Vice Chair. Having served as Chair and Vice Chair from 2016 through 2019, I am confident that both will do an excellent job.
The next discussion item was an update on commuter rail in the region. A two-year feasibility study found that Wake, Durham, Orange, and Johnston counties collectively add more than 32,000 residents a year, resulting in crowded roads and ever-lengthening commute times. The region’s population is expected to grow by over 1,000,000 people by 2050. The region is projected to add over 800,000 jobs by 2050, and over 350,000 of these jobs are projected to be near the proposed commuter rail corridor. As the foundation of a robust regional transit network, a commuter rail line would allow the Triangle to manage and sustain projected growth.
The third discussion item was the work plan for CAMPO for the next fiscal year.
The last discussion item was a report on the Locally Administered Projects Program (LAPP) Investment Program. This included a list of projects in the MPO for funding in the fiscal year. Cary will receive $1,935,895 for phase IV of Higgins Greenway.
The meeting concluded after about an hour.
State of Cary Address Work
Thursday and Friday were spent working on the State of Cary address. The final draft resulted in about 5500 words which will be represented on 37 PowerPoint slides. I will be presenting this address for the first time on Wednesday, January 24th, 8 AM at the Cary Chamber’s Eye Opener Breakfast which will be held in the Prestonwood County Club’s ballroom.
Affordable Housing Luncheon
Sunday I participated in a discussion on affordable housing at Cary Presbyterian. The meeting started with a showing of Segregated by Design which is an animated documentary on the history of how federal, state, and local governments unconstitutionally segregated major metropolitan areas in the United States through law and policy. The 18-minute film is based on the book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein who also narrates. This was followed by Devin Ross from One Wake who encouraged the attendees to organize against local and other officials to make change.
I talked about our DEI department’s and the DEI task force’s efforts to combat racism in Cary. Then I talked about Cary’s Housing Plan, how we are addressing affordability, and the challenges that face us. I encouraged all in attendance to partner with the town for solutions.
Town Manager’s Report
I’m looking forward to seeing you next week at two very special occasions.
First, is Wednesday morning when we’ll all gather to hear from and support the Mayor in his annual State of Cary Address at the Chamber Eye Opener. For those who haven’t spent time “on the inside” of this event, Mayor Weinbrecht himself writes the State of Cary; staff’s role is simply to help by confirming facts and figures and doing light editing for flow and grammar. So, what we hear and see during the Address is truly top of mind for him.
Then, history will be made at Thursday’s regular Council meeting when Ryan Eades will take the oath of office and officially begin his service to our community as the newest member of Council. The staff and I have been enjoying getting to know Ryan over these past few weeks, and we’re excited to see what he’ll bring to Cary’s success.
Have a safe and relaxing weekend.
Cary Celebrates MLK Jr. with Dreamfest!
Cary celebrated the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King Jr. holiday with a weekend filled with programs to honor his legacy, focus on the issue of civil rights, and provide opportunities for community service. The celebration included an Interfaith Prayer Service, film screenings at The Cary Theater, one of which provided an opportunity to dialogue with the film director, and the main Dreamfest program at the Cary Arts Center. The Dreamfest event was attended by NC Senator Cheri Beasley, Council Member Carissa Kohn-Johnson, with a keynote address presented by Dr. Harry L. White Jr., Pastor of Watts Chapel Baptist Church. Soul stirring performances were presented by Pure Life Theater Company, The North Carolina Central Repertory Dance Co. and a winter clothing and backpack drive, sponsored by The Sigma Rho Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. for Reedy Creek Magnet Middle School students.
Additionally, more than 200 volunteers gathered at Good Hope Farm on Monday for an annual day of service. Volunteers spread over 100 yards of leaf mulch from Cary’s curbside collection service. In the spirit of building food security, the event also acted as a host site for the Dreamfest Food Drive, inspiring volunteers to donate approximately 500 pounds of canned food to Dorcas Ministries.
2023 North Carolina Transportation Summit
The North Carolina Department of Transportation hosted the 2023 North Carolina Transportation Summit at the Raleigh Convention Center. Transportation staff attended the event to listen to industry leaders on the future of mobility in North Carolina. Gov. Roy Cooper and Sec. of Transportation Eric Boyette opened the event by sharing updates on significant economic development projects coming to North Carolina and the transportation investments being made to accommodate the thousands of jobs being created.
Trash Pack Partnership
Members of the North Carolina State University research team led by Professor Pal met with staff and presented an update on the research project to improve identification and characterization of waste stream organics. Our partnership to provide waste supports their work to train an AI-driven system that could ultimately be used to inform decisions on selecting material that can be used in waste-to-energy conversion and other waste–to–use opportunities. The fascinating presentation provided a glimpse of future possibilities for waste management and sparked thoughts about how Cary can move toward it.
Chatham Street Development Updates
First, on W Chatham Street, development plans were approved this week for the redevelopment of the former Northwoods Building site and surrounding property owned by Northwoods Jordan Building, LLC, First Baptist Church, and the Town of Cary. Existing structures will be removed at 116 W Park St., 120 W Park St., and 119 S Harrison Ave. The project includes the exchange and recombination of property between Northwoods Jordan Building, LLC, First Baptist Church, and the Town of Cary. Closing on the properties is planned for February 2. Construction is expected to begin this spring following the move of the Ivey-Ellington House on February 20.
Next, on E Chatham Street, phase 1 of Meridian East Chatham is expected to begin at the end of this month. Phase 1 will include installation of stormwater infrastructure along E Chatham Street between Templeton Street and E Circle Drive. During this phase, two-way traffic is expected to be maintained along E Chatham Street for most of the project duration. Intermittent flagging operations may be needed to support construction activities as well as detours. Future phases include waterline replacement along E Chatham Street, sewer improvements, and service connections. Updates will be provided as the schedule and scope are better defined.
Cultural Arts Committee
Public Meeting: The Centre
Reception for Ryan Eades
- A request to spend more money on Pickleball.
- A request for a traffic signal at Laura Duncan and Cary Parkway (NCDOT makes decisions on signals. They may not allow this because of the proximity to the signal at Old Apex and Cary Parkway)
- A complaint about needed sidewalk repairs in Carpenter Village
- A complaint about the carpool situation at Panther Creek High School
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, the State of Cary address, the Downtown Park Neighborhood meeting, The Centre Public Meeting, and the last regularly scheduled council meeting of January.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, January 29th, 2023. 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 email@example.com.