Cary, NC – This week was a holiday week.
Monday – Cary Tennis Park Award
Monday I joined the Directory of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources in New York at the USTA (United States Tennis Association) annual awards breakfast to accept the 2019 Featured Facility Award for the Cary Tennis Park. Our parks system continues to be the best of the best and our venues continue to be nationally recognized. Thanks to Doug McRainey and his staff for creating such an excellent park system.
My Tuesday meeting with the town manager was cancelled.
Wednesday – Cary Economic Development
Wednesday I chaired a meeting of the Economic Development Committee. The committee was given a brief summary of the 2019 Bonds, a quarterly report, and an update on downtown development. In the quarterly report the Chamber reported that there were 6 active recruitment projects with 600 jobs and $270 million in capital investment potential. Our meeting concluded after about an hour.
Thursday – Cary Town Business
Thursday I taped a candidate message for Cary TV. Each candidate for Cary Council was allowed to tape a 5 minute message. My message was closer to 3 minutes.
Later Thursday the council performed the annual review of one of our employees which lasted about two and a half hours. The town manager, town attorney, and town clerk report to the council. All other employees report to the town manager. Cary is so very fortunate to have such talent at the highest levels. Leading the organization is our town manager, who I honestly believe is the best manager in the nation. He has changed the culture of the organization in less than three years and has a staff that is energized and excellent in what they do. That equates to the best customer service at the least cost for our citizens.
The Friday meeting with the North Carolina Metro Mayors was cancelled.
Sunday – Cary Election
Sunday I met with my campaign team to determine strategy for the next couple of weeks.
In preparation for the professional tennis tournament this week, the Atlantic Tire Championships, the town prepared a video about Cary. You can view it on YouTube at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=33dn-JZDnrY&feature=youtu.be.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week included the following:
Rescue Team Deployed
As part of a state-wide network of storm response resources, Cary Fire Department’s Swiftwater Rescue Team was deployed to the coast. Staging key resources in advance is crucial to providing safe responses to residents in need. The team, led by Captain Chad Thomas, was sent to the Otway Fire Department in Carteret County near Harker’s Island to support local emergency services agencies. The team is working with a NC National Guard unit on Cedar Island removing stranded victims and assessing damage. I join Chief Cooper and the fire department command staff in expressing my appreciation and gratitude for the hard work and dedication exhibited by this team. Please keep them and all emergency responders in your thoughts as Dorian makes its coastal pass.
Urban3 was in town this week to spend time with staff and see Cary for themselves as they refine their data analysis and round out their study. They are currently analyzing an initial set of tax base data to produce a geospatial display of our largest revenue source. During their visit, we gave them an overview of Imagine Cary along with new initiatives including Fenton, the Downtown Park and the nearby mixed use development project, the Eastern Cary Gateway and other special planning areas to help contextualize their work for Cary. Council and department directors have had a chance to hear from Urban3, and this site visit was a great opportunity for many more staff, especially our data experts and those engaged in long range land use planning, finance, and infrastructure, to see their capabilities and unique storytelling approach to helping visualize and then plan better for our future. We will continue to work with them over the next several months and expect to see their full revenue analysis in spring 2020.
A building permit was issued for the WakeMed vertical expansion. This $44.8 million project consists of the addition of 102,000 square feet with 40 new patient beds on the fifth floor and the potential for 40 additional beds on the fourth floor, a 25,750 square foot renovation, and a new rooftop helipad.
Maynard Water Tank
Rehabilitation of the Maynard Road Water Tank, Cary’s most iconic and recognizable tank, is complete, and the tank has been placed back into service. This 500,000-gallon, multi-legged style water tank was originally constructed in 1966 and is the smallest and oldest water tank in the system. Rehabilitation included removing the existing coatings and applying fresh coats of paint to both the interior and exterior of the tank, repairing the handrail along the catwalk of the bowl, and replacing the interior and exterior ladders, safety climb systems, and the altitude valve. [The altitude valve measures the water level and controls the flow of water in and out of the tank.] Rehabilitating the tank will extend its service life by approximately 20 years. Just as the Maynard Road Tank towered above the Cary Village Mall and its subsequent expansion into Cary Towne Center, it now stands ready to welcome and serve as redevelopment occurs in the area.
NCDOT Pauses Projects in Cary
NCDOT has paused roadway and rail projects in the planning/design stage throughout the state due to budgetary issues. There are nine affected projects in Cary, two rail projects and seven road projects. This temporary hold is anticipated to last 3 to 6 months. Once design resumes, we’ll be able to determine any impacts on project schedules. Projects currently on hold include:
- Aviation Parkway (U-5811)
- Crossroads Junction (I-5701 & I-5703)
- Holly Springs Road (U-6217)
- I-40 / Wade Ave Additional Lanes (U-5936)
- Maynard Road Railroad Grade Separation (P-5718)
- McCrimmon Parkway (U-5747)
- Ten Ten Road (U-5825)
- Trinity Road Railroad Grade Separation (P-5734)
- US 64 (U-5301)
Projects under construction or planned to begin construction in the next 12 months will not be delayed. The following projects in Cary have not been impacted:
- Complete 540 (R-2721, R-2828, R2829)
- I-40 at Airport Blvd (I-5700)
- I-40 at Aviation Pkwy (I-5506)
- Louis Stephens Drive Extension (U-5827)
[Descriptions of these NCDOT projects are available on the Town’s website.]
Town projects that receive federal funding are not impacted. Staff will continue to monitor the situation and meet with state officials, providing updates as needed.
Upcoming BRT Event
Research Triangle Alliance (RTA) is hosting a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Opportunity Series Event at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham on Thursday, October 24, from 10 a.m. to noon. This is a follow-up event to the June 2019 RTA Leadership Briefing and Tour to Virginia. The upcoming event will include some speakers from the tour as well as new presentations that will showcase work from elsewhere that may inform potential opportunities for advancing bus rapid transit in and across our market. If interested, go to RTA’s website to register for this free event.
Walker Street Improvements
As part of our continuing efforts to invest in downtown, contractors working for Cary have begun Phase II of the Walker Street Improvements Project. Phase II consists of the temporary closure of S. Walker Street between E. Chatham Street and Waldo Street. Work in Phase II consists of new storm drainage, water lines, sewer rehabilitation, temporary traffic signal work and relocation of private utilities.
The contractor began work at Waldo Street in mid-August. The following milestones are in progress:
- Duke Energy began utility relocation work with setting of new wooden poles to prepare for underground relocation work. Utility relocation conduit work is scheduled to occur this winter.
- A new 8-inch water line on Waldo Street and tie-in to a new 16-inch water line on S. Walker Street is substantially complete.
- Storm drainage activities will begin later in September.
Contractors actively working on adjacent projects along S. Walker Street continue to coordinate traffic control and access for citizens, business and churches.
Learning about Transit and TOD
A picture is worth a thousand words and seeing it in person is worth a thousand pictures. Staff members took Amtrak to Greensboro to learn more about the redevelopment of the city’s existing transit station and surrounding area. Greensboro officials generously shared lessons they learned as they navigated the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) planning process. The group toured the historic Amtrak station and Greensboro Transit Authority operations and maintenance center and took a bus tour of the city before boarding Amtrak and heading back to Cary, bringing with them additional data and experience that will inform future work.
Cary Police Officers recently met the Londonderry Police Department’s #1 fan, 11-year-old Jade. Jade and her family recently moved to Cary, and her father asked Cary PD to stop by and meet Jade, a huge supporter of law enforcement with an incredible memorabilia collection. Officers presented her with Cary memorabilia including baseball cards, patches, and a challenge coin and hope to see Jade become Cary PD’s #1 fan!
Staff from Planning and Development Services attended the IDT Regional Conference in Raleigh. IDT is our online portal for submitting and reviewing development plans and building permits. At the conference, the IDT team demonstrated new applications within the existing portal that could be helpful to both applicants and staff. New applications included the ability to handle the application, permitting, and inspections all in one portal as well as an option for ESRI/GIS integration to pull data for an address and embed maps on the project page. Other development in the pipeline includes a redesigned, streamlined user interface. This was an exciting opportunity to preview ways to continue to improve our processes and find better, more effective ways to work with our citizens and applicants.
Holly Springs Road
From Monday, September 9 through Friday, September 13, 9am to 3pm, Holly Springs Road will be reduced to one lane from High Ridge Drive to Eilla Bluffs Court. This lane reduction will allow a contractor to complete subsurface locating and marker ball installation (maintenance) on the sewer force main on the shoulder of the road. Cary staff will have a flagger operation set up and will be using a pilot vehicle to direct traffic. Staff will be posted at side roads along the work zone to maintain safe traffic. Side roads will be able to get in and out but may experience minor delays.
Fire Truck Inspection
Members of the Fire Department and Fleet went to Appleton, WI for the final inspection on the first of two tractor-drawn aerials, the first of this type for Cary. Tractor-drawn aerial fire trucks will provide the flexibility to continue the high level of fire protection as our community continues to develop and redevelop.
The Cary Tennis Park received the US Tennis Association’s Highest Facility Honor as the 2019 Featured Facility Award Winner! Cary Tennis Park is one of 25 winners in the 38th annual USTA Facility Awards program, which recognizes excellence in the construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities throughout the country. The facility was the only winner designated as a Featured Facility. Mayor Weinbrecht and Doug McRainey were present during the US Open in New York to receive the award.
Aaron and Meg brought their baby Lucille to meet Emergency Communications Supervisor Karen Smith. Last month, Aaron called 911 and said that his wife was in labor and he didn’t believe they could make it to the hospital for delivery. Calling on her extensive training and using 911 resources, Karen instructed them on the delivery. When they met this week, Karen let Aaron and Meg listen to the audio and provided them a copy. Laughter, tears and gifts were also exchanged. Lucille is named for her grandmother who was also born at home. Thanks to all of our communications officers and a special thank you to Karen for exemplifying the Cary Way, for making in a difference, for changing lives, in our community.
Advisory Board Meetings
Mon, Sept 9, 5:15pm
Town Hall Conf Room 11130
Mon, Sept 9, 6pm
Town Hall Conf Room 10035
Mon, Sept 9, 6:30pm
Town Hall Council Chambers
Tues, Sept 10, 6pm
Town Hall Conf Room 10035
Tues, Sept 10, 7pm
Town Hall Conf Room 11130
Emails from Citizens
I received a question this week about the timeline of the downtown park. Here is the staff’s response to that question:
“…With passing the Parks Bond, we would begin the Design Development phase. This phase usually takes between 12-18 months to complete, which would be around Fall of 2020. We would then move to the Bidding Process which is around 3-4 months to complete putting us to Winter of 2021. …”
Emails from citizen’s this week included:
- A question about how districts are set and when this happens (Districts are set after each census and are based on population. Staff will present proposals and the council will choose)
- A complaint about storm cleanup (staff is addressing this issue)
- A complaint about bond doesn’t include a park in a certain area (Parks are determined in the Parks master plan. The bond allows the lowest interest rate possible to fund projects. The failure of a voter referendum would delay parks for years).
- A complaint about rezoning proposals.
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, the Atlantic Tire Championships, a meeting with a council candidate, a bond education community meeting, the Cary Chamber annual banquet, a ceremonial meeting to tie “Rakhis”, a council meeting, the Veterans Experience Action Center, and the George Washington play rehearsal.
Get In Touch
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, September 15th. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Photos courtesy of Harold Weinbrecht.