Harold’s Blog: Tennis, Mask Mandates & Vaccines
Cary, NC — This was a much slower week than the previous two weeks.
Talking Tennis in Cary
Monday I had a brief virtual meeting with the town manager to discuss the Atlantic Tire Tennis Tournament (that ended the day before), the future of tennis tournaments in Cary, and the future of the Cary Tennis Park.
Later in the week, on Wednesday, I also met with one of the tournament directors for the Atlantic Tire Tennis Tournament to discuss some of the changes that could be made to the Cary Tennis Park that would make it more attractive to additional tournaments.
Back-to-School Vaccine Clinic
On Monday afternoon a representative of Wake Med asked me to share the following message:
Back-to-School Blitz: COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
Are you ready to have your ‘tweens and teens vaccinated against COVID-19? WakeMed will host a Back-to-School Blitz vaccine clinic in the Andrews Center, administering the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Appointments preferred – walk-ins welcome.
- Saturday, July 31, 8 AM-2 PM
- Sunday, August 1, 2-5 PM
- Saturday, August 21, 8 AM-2 PM
- Sunday, August 22, 2-5 PM
Note: WakeMed requires parental, guardian or legal custodian consent before vaccinating people under 16 years old. The parent, guardian or legal custodian can complete the consent several ways:
- In MyChart when making the child’s appointment
- In person when accompanying the child to the vaccine clinic
- By printing and completing the consent and having the child bring it with them to the clinic.
- If a person under age 16 presents without appropriate consent, we will attempt to call the child’s parent, guardian or legal custodian. If consent cannot be obtained, the child will not be able to receive the vaccine from WakeMed at that time. REMINDER: Adults who haven’t had their vaccine yet are welcome to get it at the same time as their children.
Clinic Address & Parking:
The Andrews Conference Center is located on the WakeMed Raleigh Campus across from the Emergency Department at 3024 New Bern Avenue.
If your children’s appointments are between 8 am and 5 pm, please park in the P3 parking deck, enter WakeMed at Patient Registration, and follow the signs to the clinic.
For appointments before 8 am, after 5 pm or on a Saturday, feel free to use the underground parking at the Andrews Conference Center and take the elevator to the Ground Floor.
Town Facilities Return to Mask Mandate
Thursday I discussed returning to a mask mandate in town facilities with management staff. It was agreed that this was the best course of action at this time. So, starting Monday, masks will be required in all town facilities. This matches what Wake County is doing and what some of the other municipalities are doing.
It is important to understand that this is not only to keep our citizens safe but to keep our staff safe. One infection of a town staff member may isolate an entire team. Sadly, this is all preventable. I urge you if you haven’t already to PLEASE get the vaccine!
NC Metro Mayors Meeting Recap
Friday I participated in the North Carolina Metro Mayors meeting. Here is a summary of that meeting from the Executive Director:
- NC Metro Mayors held a joint virtual press conference with leaders from the Mayors Association and NCLM. The White House amplified coverage of the event through their press office.
Special Guest UPDATE
On the bill from Andrew Nam, Legislative Assistant, Office of Senator Thom Tillis ([email protected])
Andrew outlined some preliminary estimates of what this bill might mean to NC (still in negotiations over the weekend – Andrew will send confirmed details later)
- North Carolina Roads and Highways are estimated to receive $9 Billion over 5 years – based on Beau’s quick calculations this is almost a doubling of the funds that the US DOT would normally send to our state in that period
- Clean water initiatives in NC will receive $440 Million over a 5-year period
- Nationally – Coastal Resiliency will receive $7 Billion for US Army Corp to work on infrastructure for storm preparedness, NC stands to benefit from this
- Nationally – Airports will receive $25 Billion for expansion, maintenance and modernization projects, NC airports stand benefit from this.
- Creation of a new Federal Broadband Program will send a minimum of $100 Million to each state for the first FY and then a formula is subject to kick in for underserved areas across the country
Andrew reports that Senator Tillis & Burr have been participating in the working groups crafting the bill (Sen. Tillis has been active on four of the special workgroups working on the bill – resilience, transit, broadband and permitting). Sen. Tillis is on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee which has jurisdiction over the public transit decisions going into the bill.
Amendments will be filed Monday as the Senate continue to work on this previously elusive Congressional effort to improve federal investments on out nations infrastructure. The advocacy from our cities has been important to Senator Tillis and it is appreciated.
Governors Press Conference
New Executive Order is in effect beginning yesterday – Executive Order 224 FAQ
- The EO mandate that all employees of State Agencies under the Governors purview either show proof of vaccination or submit to testing on a weekly basis beginning September 1.
- All unvaccinated employees will wear masks at working.
- Governor Cooper and Secretary Mandy Cohen appealed to local school boards to require masks – but the new EO does not mandate for masks in schools.
A copy of Executive Order No.224 can be found here.
Some cities are beginning mask requirements for city facilities and employees (Durham and Cary), other are considering it. Metro Mayors Coalition is not aware of any city that has mandated vaccines.
General Update – John Easterling, Lobbyist
- The House Budget plans to complete their version next week and make it public the second week of August. Then the two chambers will begin their negotiations in earnest, a process that may also include the Governor – with the hope being that three-party discussions could result in an enacted full state budget for the first time since 2019.
- The US Census Bureau is expected to release raw data to states around August 16 (this data format does not lend itself to municipal redistricting, that data will come a few weeks later), so the General Assembly will also begin the work on redistricting, a process that will carry over into September, even October.
NCDOT delay in processing new projects through the STIP will be formally before the NCDOT Board net week for an expected affirmative vote to delay the next round of project selection due to rising costs of existing projects, stagnant revenues and inaccurate and out-of-date costs estimates for existing projects in the pipeline.
Cities should consult with their MPO’s to learn more about the specific impacts to your transportation project planning.
Economic Development – nothing new to report
Local Control/Local Revenues – nothing new to report
Town Manager Report
The town manager’s report for this week includes the following:
Manager’s Message to Council
On Monday and for the foreseeable future, we’ll once again be requiring everyone inside a Town facility to wear a mask, including visitors. This decision comes with the mayor’s concurrence and advice from our pandemic response group. This mask mandate is for everyone, vaccinated or not, and applies in all public and congregant areas in every building. Just like NC as a whole, our organization is experiencing a significant spike in cases. Our response to this healthcare crisis will continue to evolve as changing situations warrant, but what will stay the same is a focus on the safety of our Council, staff, and citizens.
Money’s Annual Best Places to Live Ranking
We have been notified by Money Magazine that Cary is a semi-finalist in their annual rating for best places to live in the U.S. We received a questionnaire that we will be responding to next week. We will keep you updated on how things progress.
In-Person ZBOA Meeting
Following Town Hall’s reopening and the return of in-person council meetings on July 22, Zoning Board of Adjustment members and associated staff will return to Town Hall on August 2 at 6:30 p.m. The Zoning Board of Adjustment will be the first Council-appointed volunteer advisory board to return to Town Hall for their monthly meetings. In keeping with Sean’s message, all meeting attendees, including board members, will be masked.
Cary held the first of two Celebrate Cary celebrations on July 24. More than 5,000 people were in attendance to help celebrate Cary’s sesquicentennial. Shelley Green, of Moss + Ross, captured some of the festivities with a short slideshow that you can view here.
There will be one more day to participate in the Celebrate Cary celebration on July 31 at 4 PM.
2021 Atlantic Tire Championships
Cary Tennis Park hosted the first tournament in the Atlantic Tire Championships Summer Series July 19-25. The tournament, an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challenger level event, features men ranked just outside the top 50 in the world.
The week saw record attendance and ticket sales. Mayor Weinbrecht was on hand to watch the matches and participate in both the singles and doubles trophy presentations. The facility’s transformation into the host venue is an extensive collaboration between Cary Tennis Park and Public Works.
The second event in the Atlantic Tire Championships Summer Series runs September 12-19 at Cary Tennis Park.
Downtown Pump Track
A new PASS (Pop-up Action Sports Station) is open in Downtown at the old library site. This track is designed to be portable and will remain at this site through November before traveling to other locations in Cary.
The pump track is designed for all-wheeled sports and for kids of all ages. The beauty of this space was at the forefront of this project and protecting the tree roots from compaction was mitigated with the use of 6”+ of tree chippings.
The goal of this PASS is to attract and engage community members who visit the downtown area. The PASS is accessible during daylight hours and will be jointly used for programmable action sports space.
Public Art Installations
Welcome “Calvin” & “Rejoice”! These two new pieces of art, by John Merigian, are now on permanent display as part of the Diavolo @ New Hope disc golf course.
The sculptures are made of weathering steel and their patina will change over time to a rusty red like their companion sculptures across the street at New Hope Trailhead Park.
John Merigian’s large sculptures are reminiscent of the train rails that once laid beside the new park and helped tell the story of the history of the American Tobacco Trail.
On July 22, artist Thomas Sayre’s newest Earthcasting, commissioned by Singh Developer for Griffin Weston Luxury Townhomes and apartments, rose into place at the corner of Evans Road and Cary Parkway. Sayre is best known for his iconic rings at the museum park at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Emergency Communications Center Renovation
Cary’s Emergency Communications Center (911) renovation project is complete. This project added additional square footage and office space, upgraded lighting, sound-absorbing ceiling tiles, new flooring, and state-of-the-art console furniture. Staff is in the process of moving back into the space.
Emails from citizens this week included:
- A recommendation on how to preserve forest remnants in Cary
- A recommendation on having a city market in downtown
- Several emails about recognizing Cary resident Katie Zaferes for her two Olympic medals (we are definitely working on it)
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a read through of the “Cary The Stories” Play where I am playing a part, Cary Chamber event, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, and the FCC Cemetery Ribbon Cutting ceremony.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, August 8th. 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. Images from Town of Cary.
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