Harold’s Blog: Christmas Parade, Federal Relief, Project Updates and More

Cary, NC — This week’s activities included only staff meetings and conversation with council members.

Future Parks & Developments

Monday I had a virtual one-on-one meeting with the town manager. While our talk included several topics, we focused on the future of the downtown park and future large developments.

During the week I had individual conversations with council about future parks.

The Virtual Cary Christmas Parade

Dancers with Graceful Expressions Dance Education perform their segment of the virtual parade.

Saturday I watched the virtual Cary Christmas Parade. While I miss having the in-person joy of the parade, the Jaycees did an outstanding job bringing some of that joy into our homes. I am especially appreciative of all the performers who sent in their videos and showcased their talents.

The bonus interviews with Santa were special. The Jaycees might want to consider adding that as a preview to future parades. I hope all that watched and participated enjoyed it as much as I did. Merry Christmas!

Town Manager Report

The town manager, Sean Stegall’s report for this week included:

Manager’s Message to Council

Yesterday I hosted my final All Hands meeting of the year with staff and was joined by co-host Services Design Coordinator Carolyn Roman. A record number of employees tuned in as I addressed questions from staff on subjects ranging from COVID-19 vaccinations, work schedules, diversity and inclusion, and the future of the organization. It’s always a pleasure to connect with staff even if it’s in a virtual setting.

During the All-Hands meeting, I announced that Town facilities will remain closed through March 31. I will continue to consult with Public Safety Director Allan Cain to ensure the health and safety of our staff and community.

Stay safe and have a great weekend.


2020 LocalSmarts Award

Congratulations to Chief Information Officer Nicole Raimundo for being recognized as a GoldenGov: City Executive of the Year by StateScoop. Nicole’s leadership and determination has earned her this award, but it is her hard work and commitment to her staff and citizens that makes me extremely proud. Please take the time to congratulate Nicole on this career accomplishment.

Federal COVID Relief Update

On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 8900, Further Continuing Appropriations Act which provides a one-week extension of government funding. This extension provides additional time for negotiations on FY 2021 appropriations and emergency coronavirus relief. As of today, this recent COVID relief proposal includes $160 billion to support State, Local and Tribal Governments. The Senate has yet to vote but is expected to pass H.R. 8900 within the week.

Operational Framework & Update

The weekly operational report brings a close to the week’s organizational activities. Please take a moment to review it.

Departmental Updates

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

  • Council members shared their holiday greetings to our community at the Christmas Tree Lighting. At this virtual event, Hometown Spirit Award Winner Brent Miller flipped the switch on the Town Hall Tree. Council members will share additional greetings at the upcoming virtual Jaycees Parade on Saturday.
  • On Monday, nearly two dozen employees took advantage of the opportunity to prioritize their mental and emotional well-being by attending HR’s second virtual mediation session. In partnership with WakeMed, these offerings are part of our ongoing commitment to provide health and well-being opportunities that support employees’ needs.
  • In partnership with VOYA, Human Resources is hosting a virtual financial wellness seminar on Dec.14 at 10:00a.m. Topics include ways to help relieve financial burdens and steps toward financial wellness.
  • PRCR has received over 700 Letters to Santa with Dec. 13 being the last day to drop off envelops at the Downtown Park. Staff estimates another 200 will be received by the deadline giving us the highest total ever for this program. Over 20 staff members are serving as elves to answer the letters. Mail has been received from six states and over 20 cities across North Carolina.
  • Cary was nominated by SAS and received the 2020 Cleantech Water Innovation Award for the deployment of our Floodwater Prediction and Monitoring System solution. The award presentation can be found here.
  • The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBOA) heard two cases at their virtual meeting on Monday. The first case was a variance for the encroachment of a pool and stone patio into the side and rear setback. The board voted unanimously to approve the case. The second case was an appeal to the Planning Director’s determination that a drive-through restaurant use was not permitted on Tract 3 of the Waverly Place development. The board unanimously approved to uphold the Planning Director’s determination.
  • Building permits were approved for Building 3B and Building 5 of the Fenton development. Building 3B is a single-story, 12,323 sq. ft. retail building located along Cary Towne Blvd. Building 5 is a two-story, 24,195 sq. ft. building with a mix of office and retail uses which is located at the corner of Trinity Road and Fenton Gateway Drive. With these approvals, building permits have now been approved for 50% of the buildings and one of the three parking decks in Phase 1 of the development.
  • Walker Consultants is conducting counts of 12 apartment complexes this week to evaluate how many spaces are being utilized, in complexes that have received parking reductions from current standards. This work will occur two times at each complex during the afternoon and evenings of December 10 and 12.
  • On Dec. 3, T&F met to discuss traffic calming initiatives with the neighborhood of Loch Highlands. Traffic staff has been collaborating with a small focus group over the last couple of years. This virtual meeting was an opportunity to discuss neighborhood speeding concerns with a heavy emphasis on transparency and possible traffic calming solutions. A proposed traffic calming plan was presented with potential applications being considered by the group.
  • New traffic signals in western Cary were put into flashing mode function earlier this week to warn motorists that these traffic lights will be operational in the following week. The intersections impacted were Green Hope High School at Green Level Church Rd. and McCrimmon Pkwy at Highcroft Dr. Public Works built the traffic lights while NCDOT revised the signal plans simultaneously to accommodate new travel lanes and a pedestrian crossing that was installed by developers.
  • On Thursday, RTI announced a new study to help cities evaluate first responder services based on 911 calls for service (CFS). The City of Durham invited Cary to participate in this research along with City of Raleigh, City of Burlington, City of Greensboro, City of Winston-Salem, and City of Rock Hill, SC. Goals of the project are threefold and will help us better understand our community needs through an analysis of Cary’s call data; identify alternative response interventions that fit community needs and align with available resources; and support the implementation and rapid evaluation of alternative response interventions. RTI researchers analyzed three years of 911 Cary calls to understand call volume, type, response, and resolution. Cary staff will meet with the research team in the coming weeks to better understand our analysis results and determine next steps. You can view the news release here.
  • On Dec. 4, Lt. Brame and Officer Hageter attended the NCDOT Virtual Tree of Life Ceremony. The ceremony honored those that lost their lives in 2019 due to vehicle crashes in North Carolina. Governor Cooper and several other distinguished speakers gave meaningful presentations during the event. The Tree of Life Ceremony also serves as the beginning of the holiday season Booze It & Lose It campaign which will run from December 14 to January 3.

Cary Teen Council Supports the Community

This pandemic has paused the ability for our volunteers to gather and provide in-person support to the community. Cary Teen Council, whose primary purpose is to serve the community through volunteerism, has overcome this obstacle with an adaptive approach to this year’s service activities. In addition to going completely virtual this school year, Teen Council recently partnered with WakeMed Cary Hospital on a card giving project. Members wrote cards to health care workers and shared thanks for their continued efforts to provide critical care to patients. One hundred members mailed cards which were distributed throughout the hospital. In return, several health care workers wrote back to members recognizing Teen Council’s efforts to support their community. One Cary Teen Council member stated that the reply “means so much to me” that “I will keep this forever”.

Maynard Tank Returns to Service

Following the Maynard Road Water Tank rehabilitation project, a one-year warranty inspection was recently performed to identify areas that still required some touching up. This is fairly common for coating projects, but it does require the tank to be taken out of service and therefore closely coordinated with all other activities and maintenance within the water distribution system. Contractors have completed the paint repairs and the tank has been filled and placed back into service.

Virtual Tours of the Western Wake Regional Water Reclamation Facility

The Western Wake Regional Water Reclamation Facility conducted virtual tours this week for 75 students from Holly Springs High School. For the safety of our staff and the protection of utility service, our utility facilities have been closed to nearly all visitors since the start of the pandemic. While plant tours are not new, the adaption to an online platform allowed learning to continue. Students could explore at their own pace, learning about the wastewater process through text, audio, visual and video content.

Connected Vehicle Project Bid Opening

On Wednesday, T&F received and opened three bids for the Connected Vehicle Project via WebEx. A selection committee will pick a vendor in the coming months and present to Council for conditional approval to enter into a Contract Agreement. The project will move into construction phase early spring of 2021. Project highlights include:

  • Connected Vehicle Cellular Technology
  • Sharing Signal Phase and timing with motorists
  • New GPS Emergency Vehicle Pre-emption system for front line responders
  • Share railroad gates activation warning with motorist to increase safety
  • Alert driver when entering school and construction zones

Additional Information of Interest

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

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails this week included

  • Requests not to mandate the vaccine (This would be a state or federal mandate if any. I will gladly take the vaccine)
  • A complaint that we did not score well in the IndyWeek report card on the LBGTQ community (You have to look at their metrics. While we always look for ways to improve in everything we do, I TOTALLY disagree with their findings.)
  • A complaint about the safety of downtown crosswalks. (Staff continues to work with citizens on improvements. Some improvements are coming soon.)
  • A cut and paste complaint about our carbon-free future (I have answered that numerous times. Please follow EAB board and council meetings for future updates)
  • A request to let NCDOT know that O’Kelly Chapel Road west of Highway 55 needs widening. (NCDOT has a huge backlog and very little money. I anticipate this will not be in the near future)
  • A complaint that free COVID-19 testing is only in Raleigh and not other Wake municipalities.

Activities next week include staff meetings, the last regularly scheduled council meeting of the year, and the last meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association of the year.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 20th.

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.

From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Images from Town of Cary.

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1 reply
  1. Brent
    Brent says:

    Although IndyWeek reported the LGBTQ+ Municipal Equality scores, it was the Human Rights Campaign that generated them. I went and looked at their detailed metrics and they seem fairly reasonable to me (https://www.hrc.org/resources/municipal-equality-index). Perhaps Cary needs to re-examine some policies and ensure that our existing diversity and inclusion policies are well known.

    Cary need not take actions solely to improve this one particular score, but this might be an indicator that improvements can be made, and perhaps some of our neighbor municipalities offer things to consider.

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