Cary, NC — This week was the beginning of a holiday break for many Americans, including me.
Returning to In-Person Town Council Meetings
Monday my one-on-one meeting with the town manager included the town clerk and the town attorney. We discussed the opening of the Town Hall and other facilities to the public and how meetings should be held. Specifically, we discussed how future council meetings would be held.
Based on our conversation, we believe the public would be best served by continuing to allow call-in speakers in addition to in-person speakers.
My only other scheduled meeting for the week was the North Carolina Metro Mayors which was canceled since the legislature took a break.
4th of July at Koka Booth
Sunday, I participated in the fourth of July celebration at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. This was the first Independence Day celebration at the amphitheatre in two years.
The Cary Town Band played patriotic songs and even some Rolling Stones starting at 5:30. After they finished all chairs and stage items were replaced for the NC Symphony as part of the COVID protocols. I provided welcome remarks just before the symphony began playing.
At the conclusion of the symphony, there was a 20-minute fireworks display. This year they were centered behind the stage and of course, they were spectacular. In fact, I believe it might have been the best I have seen. Like many, I enjoyed gathering for the first time in two years, seeing and hugging people I have missed.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager, Sean Stegall’s report for this week included the following:
Manager’s Message to Council
It was an honor to stand on stage with each of you at last weekend’s official groundbreaking for Downtown Cary Park. Thank you for giving me the outstanding privilege of being a part of something so meaningful and iconic for Cary. I hope you take the time to watch this video that perfectly captures the special day.
Also, congratulations to our very own Council Member Jennifer Robinson on being featured in an article in Southern City Magazine. The article highlights her perspective on leadership as a way of life and her roles in leadership, including as a Cary Council Member and in her service as the NCLM Board of Directors President.
I hope everyone stays safe and enjoys the holiday weekend.
Funding for Stormwater Initiative
Cary was awarded $900,000 in federal funding to extend the stormwater modeling and stream sensor work in the Swift Creek Watershed. These funds are a result of an application submitted to and shepherded at the federal level by Congresswoman Deborah Ross.
Cary embarked on this dynamic modeling, rain gauge, and stream sensor work as part of Council’s stormwater initiative in the Walnut Creek Watershed Pilot. That work yielded strong positive outcomes, warranting a similar approach in the Swift Creek Watershed.
Cary is currently in the final stages of dynamic modeling for the upper 3-square miles of Swift Creek Watershed. This grant will advance modeling on the remaining portion of Swift Creek, as well as fund sensors for the entire basin.
The real-time data derived from the sensors and gauges enhances stormwater planning, floodplain improvement prioritization, and contributes to Fiman, the state’s alert system.
Weekly Operational Report
The weekly operational report brings a close to the week’s organizational activities. Please take a moment to review the weekly operational report.
Included below is a summary-level overview of the operational activities continuing to take place during this health emergency.
- Recruitment for Council-appointed boards, commissions, and committees closed on June 30. Over 90 interested citizens submitted applications for consideration. Council will begin reviewing applications and appointments will begin terms on October 1.
- The Cary150 Gala planning team continues to make progress on the November 13 event at Embassy Suites in Cary. The team has secured a lighting designer and met to discuss production needs. The team has also secured the evening’s performers, roving entertainment, florist, cake designer, table and space decor, and other event elements that will all come together to create a special celebration to honor Cary’s 150th.Information on this event and other Cary150 celebrations can be found at cary150org.
- As June marked the 20th anniversary of Cary’s reclaimed water program, staff harnessed the power of social media to educate our community about the sustainability benefits of this innovative program. Through a One Cary team effort, the Cary It Green Facebook platform posted throughout the month reaching a combined 12,111 citizens. Along with educating, posts focused on encouraging eligible residents to participate and resulted in an increase of citizen inquiries directed to utility staff.
- In the past two weeks, four new fire hydrants have been installed along Holly Springs Road. The water main to which they connect was acquired from the City of Raleigh and now serves Cary’s southern pressure zone. The new hydrants not only provide additional fire protection to this area of Cary and Wake County, but also provide opportunities for flushing and maintaining water quality.
- More than 75 miles of sewer pipeline and 2,400 manholes were completed in June during this year’s annual sewer smoke testing event. The testing provided valuable information in detecting cracks or openings that allow rainwater and ground water to seep into our sewer system pipes. With deficiencies identified, repairs will be made to further improve the efficiency and capacity of Cary’s wastewater collection system.
- Continuing Cary’s sustainability efforts, Transportation and Facilities found an opportunity to work with the Downtown Park Phase Two General Contractor to reuse existing park sidewalk lighting for the Bond Park ADA Sidewalk Improvements project. Salvaging the four-year-old LED lights proved to be an $8,000 win for taxpayers, project budget, and reallocating savings for other projects.
Thanks to a collaborative effort between Cary and Wake County, rooms in the Cary Regional Library have been named after three individuals from Cary’s history: Ruth Cathey Fox, John William Meadows, and Walter Hines Page.
These individuals were selected to correspond with each room in a meaningful way. The Children’s Programming Room is named after Fox, who served as the first female principal of Briarcliff Elementary School during desegregation.
The Quiet Study is named after Meadows, a leader in Cary’s African American community who served as an educator and circuit preacher. Page’s name is associated with the Adult Programming Room, as he is known for serving as the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom and a partner of major book publisher Doubleday, Page & Company.
Library visitors will find brief biographies of these honorees on plaques outside of each room. Cary appreciates Wake County’s partnership and support in recognizing these individuals for their contributions to Cary’s history.
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:
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Protects Against Delta Variant, Company Reports, The New York Times
Emails from citizens this week included:
- A complaint about the dangerous intersection at Morrisville Parkway and Highway 55 (Since these are NCDOT roads and this is an NCDOT intersection, we are working with them on how to make it safer)
- A thank you for helping with Maynard Pond issues
- A request to help with cost for an outdoor classroom at Green Hope Elementary
- A complaint that Cary is no longer green (Not true, in fact 30% is permanently preserved. Cary has many initiatives to protect our natural beauty. I would suggest you start by reading at https://www.townofcary.org/projects-initiatives/sustainable-resilient-cary/sustainable-community )
Staycation This Week & A Personal Announcement
Next week is a holiday week and a “staycation” week for me. So I have no activities on the calendar.
On a personal note, I am very proud to announce that I will be a grandfather! My daughter Cara, her husband Brandon, and their two dogs Bentley and Betsy will have a little boy join their family in January. While I have known about this since my birthday on June 2nd, I have had to keep it a secret which was extremely difficult for me to do. Now all I have to do is figure out what I want to be called by my grandson.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, July 4th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communication 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.
From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Images from Town of Cary.
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