Harold’s Blog: Chapel Hill Road, Fenton Financing & More

Cary, NC — This week was a light week with just a couple of events.

A Week of Virtual Events, Meetings and Golf

Monday I joined council member Jack Smith in the SAS Championship media day golf outing. We were joined by the Chamber’s President and Vice President of Economic Development.

Tuesday I joined the virtual Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event. Each member of the town’s boards and commissions was sent a little goodie basket and was invited to join a virtual meeting. In this meeting each council member provided taped remarks of appreciation and the board’s accomplishments for the year. The event lasted about half an hour. Hopefully, we will be back to meeting in person next year.

Wednesday I participated in a virtual public meeting for the future of the Chapel Hill Road corridor. Citizens expressed thoughts and ideas about the corridor. While the purpose was to get ideas for the future, most of the comments were complaints about today’s conditions. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half.

Saturday I had a COVID-19 test so that I could participate in the SAS Championships Pro-Am.

Deputy Town Manager, Russ Overton Gives Town Update

Cary’s Deputy Town Manager and Chief Development Officer, Russ Overton.

Manager’s Message to Council

While Sean is on vacation, I would like to share a couple of thoughts going into the weekend.

As a reminder, the Annual SAS Championship takes place next week. Due to COVID-19, the event will be closed to the general public. However, fans are encouraged to watch from home. Also be sure to view the SAS Championship commercial featuring Cary as a great place to do business.

As you may recall, Public Safety Director Allan Cain sent an email this week regarding Governor Cooper’s announcement to move to Safer at Home – Phase 3. As this new phase starts today, it is important that we remain vigilant in minimizing our risk of exposure to COVID-19 to protect ourselves and our colleagues.

Be safe and enjoy your weekend.

– Russ

Operational Weekly Report

The weekly operational report brings a close to the week’s activities. Please take a moment to review the highlights from this week.

Departmental Updates

Included below is a summary-level overview of the operational activities continuing to take place during this health emergency.

  • Staff conducted a walk-through with the Wake County Board of Elections at Cary’s early voting sites, Herb Young Community Center and Senior Center. Additional details will be shared in future announcements.
  • On Tuesday, Council held their first ever virtual Annual Advisory Volunteer Appreciation event. Current, incoming, and outgoing members heard from each council member as they shared messages of appreciation and discussed past year board achievements.
  • Cary Senior Technology Education (CSTE) is proud to announce the availability of a Remote Help Desk to help Cary seniors with their technology needs.
  • As expected, draft reports for bond credit ratings are coming in today in preparation of final reports that will be released on Monday. So far, four of the six credit ratings have been received, each confirming Cary’s AAA ratings with a stable outlook.
  • HR partnered with the NC Local Government Employee Retirement System (NCLGERS) and Prudential, our 401(k) administrator, to host a virtual pre-retirement seminar for employees and their families.
  • Cary’s census self-response rate reached 79.5%.
  • The October Planning and Zoning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment meetings will be used for training. No cases will be heard at either meeting.
  • Fenton closed on its construction loan on Tuesday. At approximately $200 million, it was the second largest commercial construction loan for private development in the Triangle’s history, following the Amazon distribution center in Garner.
  • Staff from Planning, T&F, Utilities, and the Manager’s Office met with representatives from the Triangle Community Coalition to review their 2019 development survey results. Overall, Cary improved in several categories.
  • The Town will be seeking feedback on the proposed Downtown Multi-Modal Center later this month. The Downtown Multi-Modal Center will accommodate planned transit improvements, including expanded local and regional bus service, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and Commuter Rail, which exceed existing capacity of the Cary Depot. As Town Hall remains closed to the public, we are conducting our public involvement virtually. Instead of a single meeting, participants will be able to access project details and submit comments online at their convenience from October 19-30.
  • The third phase of this year’s water main replacement project is underway. This phase includes installation of new 8” ductile iron water mains on Pond St (from W Cornwall Road to SW Maynard Road), Rose St, and Gordon St. The 8” water main has been installed along Pond Street, and installation of the new water mains on Rose St and Gordon St will start next week. Once the new water mains are installed, they will be tested for pressure and water quality requirements prior to installing new services for citizens.

Chapel Hill Road Mobility Study

The green line highlights the limits of the study, between NW Maynard Road and NE Maynard Road.

This week, Cary hosted a Project Symposium for the Chapel Hill Road Mobility Study. Mayor Weinbrecht kicked off the meeting with over 60 people in attendance.

The project team discussed the corridor’s existing conditions, reviewed results from the Priorities & Needs survey which received over 1,400 participants, polled the attendees on their priorities for the corridor, and opened the floor for Q&A.

As the meeting concluded, residents were asked to fill out an online Visual Preference Survey, which will remain open until November 1. This survey will be used to learn residents’ preferences for various types of community design, pedestrian facilities, bike facilities, land/streetscaping, and other options.

The virtual public meeting was recorded and will be uploaded to the project webpage for residents who could not attend the meeting.

The Next Generation of Trees in Two Neighborhood Parks

Neighborhood parks are special. They are frequently used, a source of pride, and sometimes even cared for by members of the surrounding community.

Dorothy and Heater Parks in Downtown Cary are two such parks, and staff will be facilitating tree plantings in them this winter to start growing the next generation of canopy and understory trees as the older trees age.

To help ensure the parks continue to meet the needs and expectations of the community, staff placed color coded and numbered stakes in locations where trees may be planted so citizens can provide specific feedback.

Signs were posted announcing the tree planting project and requesting feedback via [email protected], and they directed citizens to the webpage for additional information. A targeted mail campaign to nearby residents will be sent next week, further encouraging community members to participate in the design process.

Annie Jones and RS Dunham Park Tennis Court Improvements

This Shaping Cary’s Tomorrow bond project, which also includes non-bond funded work at Walnut Street Park, is nearing design completion as the plans have received local and state permit approvals.

Staff and our design consultant will prepare to bid the project this winter, with construction planned for summer 2021. These tennis courts are popular with citizens and well-used; T&F and PRCR are working together to plan a staggered construction schedule which allows some courts to remain open to the public while construction occurs in other areas of the project.

North Cary Park Swings

North Cary Park opened in 2000. As equipment ages we are looking at replacing with the latest trends. This past month, a contractor finished installing new swings that were requested by multiple citizens.

Along with the traditional belt swings, we added two new types of swings that promote intergenerational play in which an adult or sibling can interact face to face. One of the swings is adaptive providing additional support for children of all abilities.

Advisory Volunteer Orientation

New advisory volunteers attended an orientation on Thursday. Deputy Town Manager Russ Overton talked about being a model citizen, adaptive leadership, and the Cary Community Plan. Deputy Clerk Julie Clifton shared information about how meetings operate, what to expect at your first meeting, and tips for participating in remote meetings.

National Fire Prevention Week

From left, Dan Havens, Travis Hansen, Kevin Moody and Brent Holland stand together in the truck bay of Cary’s Station 9.

Through the generosity of State Farm Insurance and the National Fire Protection Association, the Cary Fire Department received a fire prevention education kit to use during National Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10.The theme for fire prevention week this year is “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.”

Newly Named Cary Towne Center

Earlier this week, Turnbridge Equities released a rendering of the Cary Towne Center redevelopment along with a new name, Carolina Yards. Staff continues to work with the Turnbridge team on their redevelopment plans.

Washington Street Water Main Replacement

Substantial completion was reached this week on Washington Street with the asphalt patching wrapping upon Friday. During construction, stormwater issues were identified along the low section of the road. Through teamwork and coordination, stormwater and utilities were able to incorporate minor stormwater improvements outside of the project’s original water line scope to help alleviate some of the localized flooding in the area and improve conditions for our citizens.

Additional Information of Interest

We found the following article to be particularly interesting this week and wanted to share with you for your reading pleasure:

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Concerns about the safety of downtown crosswalks
  • Concerns about climate change
  • A complaint about contractors doing street repaving
  • A complaint about a town release with a typo for the date

Next week’s activities include signing financial paperwork, staff meetings, a fundraiser for Gale Adcock, Cary 101 virtual event, the SAS Championship Pro-Am and a taping for the golf channel.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 11th.  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 [email protected] and email personal comments to [email protected].

From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Russ Overton and firefighters photos by Ashley Kairis, others by the Town of Cary.

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