Harold’s Blog: Holiday Events and Celebrating First Responders

Cary, NC — This week included speaking engagements and holiday events.

Holiday Themed Meetings & Lighting the Menorah

Monday I talked briefly with the town manager. Topics included the Christmas tree lighting, downtown decorations, and the first responder’s breakfast.

Tuesday night I joined council members Bush, Smith, Lui, and Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz at the Cary Hanukkah Menorah Lighting. Councilmember Bush was the keynote speaker and told the story of Hanukkah. She was followed by three other speakers including two Rabbis. After the Menorah was lit, we gathered for council photos. I am glad that Cary continues not only to recognize religious freedom but celebrate it.

Honoring Cary’s First Responders

Wednesday morning I was the keynote speaker at the First Responders Breakfast. In my remarks I talked about the many recognitions Cary receives every year such as the best place to live. I pointed out that none of these recognitions would matter if we were not a safe community.

Public Safety is the foundation of our community. It is the selflessness, compassion, courage, and strength that our first responders show every day that makes Cary safe and a great community. I told the story of the lightning strike and subsequent fire that destroyed my house in 2002 while my family was on vacation. And how firefighters did a room-to-room search, saved pets, pictures, videos, and more.

They did this as an intense fire was burning around them and as a ceiling was starting to fall in. They showed compassion, caring, courage, and strength. And their actions had a profound impact on me and my family. We will never forget what they did for us and what they do for all of us each and every day. We are so blessed to have these types of first responders in Cary.

Citizens Assisting Police Appreciation Dinner

Wednesday night I joined council members Smith, Yerha, and Lui at the CAP (Citizens Assisting Police) Appreciation dinner. CAP Team volunteers help provide security at public events and assist the Police Department with fingerprinting, child safety seat installation, clerical duties, service center staffing, Community Watch programs and other duties.

They do not carry weapons and do not make arrests. Before becoming CAP Team members, volunteers must successfully complete Cary’s Citizens Police Academy and receive training in such responsibilities as report writing. At this dinner, I joined Cary Interim Police Chief Terry Sult in providing remarks.

In my remarks, I noted that the Cary Police Department is the best of the best and how grateful we, as citizens, are to have such outstanding professionals.

Speaking at the 2021 Cary Tree Lighting

Saturday, I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz, council members Bush, Yerha, Smith, and Liu at the Cary Christmas Tree lighting. Also attending were N.C. Representative Gale Adcock, and Wake County Commissioners Maria Cervania and Sig Hutchinson. This was the largest crowd that I have ever seen at a Cary Christmas Tree Lighting.

The tree lighting ceremony included several performances from local artists. At the end of the ceremony, I introduced this year’s honorary tree lighter, Sarah Martin, who was also our Hometown Spirit Award winner. Then the crowd counted down from five before Sarah Martin flipped the switch to light the tree. Afterward, most of the attendees went down Academy Street to enjoy the lights and decorations along Academy. It was a good time and lots of fun for children and adults.

Town Manager’s Report

The town manager’s report for this week was from Assistant Town Manager Dan Ault and included:

Dan’s Message

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah! I look forward to kicking off the holiday season with you tomorrow at Town Hall for the official Christmas tree lighting.
I also look forward to seeing you at our upcoming Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Mixer on Dec. 9 at the Mayton.

As a reminder, our only Council business meeting this month is on Dec. 16.
Happy Friday!
– Dan

Public Safety Update

There are 3 active Covid-19 cases among town staff bringing the total infections to 172 since the pandemic began. 89% of the staff is vaccinated.

Over 76% of Wake County is vaccinated. The county is currently in the category of widespread transmission. Based on information provided to me, local hospitals have plenty of capacity in the ICU and have available ventilators.

Almost all of the hospitalizations due to Covid-19 continue to be the unvaccinated. Most of the highest infections rates are in the western counties of North Carolina.

Elections Update

On Thursday, the Wake County Board of Elections approved two early voting location sites in Cary, Herb Young Community Center and Cary Senior Center. Currently, candidate filing begins at noon on Dec. 6 and ends at noon on Dec. 17. Early voting will occur from Feb. 17 – March 5, 2022. Cary’s election date is March 8, 2022.

We are monitoring today’s actions by the State court’s 3 Judge Panel and expected ruling on Monday regarding the possible postponement of candidate filing for state and federal offices, and Assistant Town Manager Shelley Curran will update you of any implications to the current Cary schedule.

Citizens can find their election day polling place through the State Board of Election Voter Lookup tool.

Hanukkah Menorah Lighting

On Tuesday, Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, Mayor Pro Tem Don Frantz, and Council Members Ya Liu, Jack Smith, and Lori Bush attended Cary’s Hanukkah Menorah Lighting.

Council Member Bush addressed the 200+ crowd outside the Cary Arts Center before the Menorah was lit for the 3rd night of Hanukkah. The crowd enjoyed chocolates, dreidels, donuts, and crafts, along with a sing-along following the lighting. Cary partners with Beth Shalom, Chabad of Cary, and the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary for the annual event.

First Responders Breakfast and CAP Team Appreciation

On Wednesday, Council and staff joined the Cary Chamber and local business community at the First Responders Breakfast. The groups showed their appreciation to the Cary Fire Department, Cary Area EMS, Cary Police Department, Wake County Sheriff’s Office and our US Military for all that they do to keep our family, friends, community, and country safe.

Later that evening, Cary’s Police Department hosted the annual Citizen’s Assisting Police Team (CAP Team) Appreciation Reception at the Carolina Preserve Clubhouse. This reception is designed for the CAP Team members to highlight their volunteer work and recognize their Volunteer of the Year.

Council members Ed Yerha, Jack Smith, Ya Liu, as well as Assistant Town Manager Dan Ault graciously attended the event. Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and Interim Police Chief Terry Sult addressed the group and expressed their sincere appreciation for their dedication to our community.

Permit Submitted to Demolish The Main Portion of Cary Town Center Mall

Today we received a request for a demolition permit for the main portion of the Cary Towne Center Mall. This request is for the removal of most of the mall structure, leaving in place only the former Belk building. No outparcels are included in this request.

Because of the scope requirements, staff will work with the property owner to finalize the permit application. We anticipate this permit could be issued within the next few weeks.

Lee & Associates Development Plan Approved

The development plan has been approved for Lee & Associates’ new headquarters at 413 Kildaire Farm Road in downtown Cary at the corner of Kildaire Farm Road and Walnut Street.

The new development will construct a mixed-use building with office, retail, and restaurant uses. The development plan includes a 19,703 sq.ft., 3-story building with 24 parking spaces on the 0.64-acre site. The plan also includes outdoor seating, a new landscaped median and turn lane on Kildaire Farm Road, an underground stormwater structure, and preservation of a 33.3” Champion Tree.

Two existing residential structures were recently demolished at the site. The approval of the development plan allows the applicant to apply for a grading permit to move forward with the next phase of development.

Update on Historic Assessment

Recently, staff contracted a preservation consultant to assess the historic integrity of the downtown Cary National Register Historic District.

This integrity assessment was deemed an important step in finalizing a future location for the historic Ivey-Ellington House in order to determine whether the relocation could impact the district’s listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

The preservation consultant provided objective information, which validates the historic integrity of the downtown Cary National Register Historic District. It also provides guidance regarding the pending move of the Ivey-Ellington House. Based on this assessment, staff is continuing to finalize logistics associated with the move.

Additional Residential Rain Gardens Installed

Continuing the trend of using green technology as a stormwater control measure, a downtown resident installed two small rain gardens in her yard.

These gardens add to the four others already installed, reinforcing the concept that small, incremental projects combined together can have meaningful impacts.

These projects were funded through the Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund grant that furthers Cary’s adaptive stormwater approach and specifically addresses enhanced efforts in the Walnut Creek watershed.

Legal Department Hosts Luncheon

Today, the Legal Department hosted attorneys from nine other Wake County municipalities at WakeMed Soccer Park for lunch and a robust discussion of issues of mutual interest.

While they often interact separately with the attorneys for these municipalities, this gathering was the first in many years that brought everyone together – in person – to build relationships and set the stage for future collaboration.

Nike Cross Country National Southeast Regional

The Nike Cross National (NXN) Southeast Regional Cross-Country Meet returned to WakeMed Soccer Park after a year’s hiatus. The annual one-day event brought 731 high school runners and 1,400 spectators to Cary.

Upcoming Meetings

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Complaints about not having a mask mandate.
  • A complaint about graffiti (staff cleaned it up the next day)
  • A request for public recreation on Reedy Creek Road

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting of the Atlantic Tire Championships Board, a DEI mixer, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, a Tesla Police Car ribbon cutting, and the 2021 Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 12th. 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 [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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