Mayor Harold Weinbrecht Blog Post: August 27th, 2023

Cary 2nd Best Place To Live, Governor and Tools4Schools, Downtown Park Tour, Council Meeting, and Lazy Daze

Mayor Harold Weinbrecht publishes his weekly blog post on his personal blog (, sharing his thoughts and updates on local news and events in Cary, NC. The Cary Report, with permission from the town, will be re-publishing the Mayor’s blog as they are posted each Sunday. The following is the latest from Mayor Harold Weinbrecht.

Read the original post here.

Council Meeting Prep

Monday I contacted each council member to see if they had questions or concerns about the upcoming council meeting agenda. Some expressed concerns about the Trinity Road rezoning which was scheduled as a public hearing.

Later in the day I met with staff and Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz to go over the agenda items.

Town Manager One-On-One

My last meeting on Monday was my weekly meeting with the town manager. Topics of discussion included Accessory Dwelling Units, downtown trolleys, the future expansion of the tennis center, the future Mills Park Community and Senior Center, and the future center at South Hills.

Cary 2nd Best Places to Live in Southeast According to Livability

I was notified this week that Cary was ranked the 2nd best place to live in the Southeast by Livability. Here is what they said about Cary:

“Nestled between the stunning Western Carolina mountains and the famous East Coast beaches of the Outer BanksCary, NC, uses its enviable location to its advantage. Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, Cary is in the center of the Research Triangle Area, which places the city less than 30 minutes from downtown Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. This central location and its proximity to the Research Triangle Park — the largest research park in the U.S. — make Cary one of the best places to live in the Southeast. With a robust job market, the city of 180,341 is known as a hotspot not only for employees of the Research Triangle Park but also for entrepreneurs looking to launch new businesses. 

Although Cary has the amenities of a large city, including a great restaurant and bar scene, it retains an affordable cost of living and a small-town feel, reflected in the high safety rating given by background check company GoodHire. In 2022 they named Cary, NC, the safest city in the United States. Locals noted that they feel safe running or walking the quaint neighborhoods and greenways. But the safe, close-knit environment isn’t the only reason Cary is desirable for young families. The schools here are fantastic. According to Public School Review, which analyzes and evaluates the quality of public schools, Cary has one of the highest concentrations of top-ranked public schools in North Carolina.  

Finally, Cary is a flourishing city that offers a fantastic arts scene (gorgeous public art, galleries and more), a variety of eateries, must-visit breweries and great sporting events. Baseball fans can rejoice as Cary is home to the USA Baseball National Training Complex.” 

We are blessed to be recognized as one of the best places to live year after year.

Governor and Tools4Schools

Tuesday I joined the Governor and several elected officials from Cary and the state government in a tour of Tools4Schools in Cary. This store was created by WakeEd Partnership to provide school supplies for 11,000 Wake County teachers for free. If you would like to donate to this great cause, go to their website here.

The Governor arrived and spent time talking and taking pictures with teachers before greeting elected officials. Then he talked with the media before donning an apron and helping the volunteers. The Governor was there a little over an hour.

Downtown Park Tour

Tuesday afternoon I joined council members Robinson and Smith on a tour of the downtown park which is in its final stages of construction. This was the first tour of the park that I have had in months, and much has changed. You can now get a good look and feel at how it will be experienced. I am eager for the opening on November 19th.

Cary Candidates Forum

I attended the Cary Chamber’s Candidates forum Wednesday morning at Prestonwood. Each candidate was asked three questions. Unfortunately, the candidates had basically the same answers for each of the questions on Bus Rapid Transit and Affordable Housing so there wasn’t as much to gain from listening to them as I had hoped. From my seat it appeared that Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz was the strongest candidate with Ryan Eades second. There were candidates that echoed, almost word for word, a party platform on affordable housing. I still believe that party politics in Cary is a great threat to our success.

As a reminder, I am endorsing incumbents in this election so you can take my comments as somewhat biased.

Diwali Dance Practice

Wednesday evening, I joined about a dozen people from Cary, Apex, and Morrisville to practice dancing at Diwali in October. While they have been practicing for months this was only my third practice due to a variety of reasons. I will be dancing three of the dances, one includes a duet with Mayor Cawley of Morrisville.

Lazy Daze Reception with Town Crier

Thursday evening, I joined a few dozen people for a reception to welcome John and Mary Webster from our sister city Markham, Canada. John Webster is an award-winning town crier and has been Cary’s official town crier for the last 19 years. At the reception I gave a few remarks and presented him with a small gift. John also made remarks and presented a letter from Mayor Scarpitti.

Council Meeting

The last regularly scheduled council meeting of August was held Thursday night and included a special presentation, one consent item, five public hearings, and one discussion item.

Our town crier read a proclamation for Lazy Daze and presented a proclamation from our sister city’s mayor in Markham, Canada.

A rezoning proposal for townhomes at Trinity Road and Deerwood Place generated several speakers criticizing the proposal. Concerns included additional traffic, stormwater, and not fitting in with surrounding houses. This will next go to the Planning and Zoning Board for their review and recommendation.

The council meeting concluded after about an hour and a half.

NC Metro Mayors

The North Carolina Metro Mayors met Friday and were provided a legislative update. The following is an update summary from KTS Strategies:

Legislative Schedule and Budget Update

Following a flurry of votes last Wednesday, this week was quiet at the General Assembly. No votes or committee meetings were held by either chamber. A state budget has yet to be finalized and legislative leadership continues to negotiate. Senior House Appropriations Chair, Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth), is one of the leaders responsible for writing the budget. He was quoted this week saying the current plan is to have a budget vote on the week of September 11th. There will not be substantive legislative activity over the next couple of weeks and we may not see any more votes or committee work until after Labor Day.

Casino Proposal

On Monday, Rockingham County Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a rezoning request that opens a 192-acre lot along U.S. 220 for potential development of a casino and entertainment district in the county. State law currently allows casinos to be built in North Carolina only on tribal lands. The General Assembly would have to change the law to authorize this development. One of the items currently being discussed in budget negotiations is whether to allow more casinos to be built in the state. As reported by WRAL, one proposal would authorize four new casinos to be built in Rockingham, Nash, and Anson counties, with one allocated to the Lumbee Tribe in eastern North Carolina. Senate President Pro Tempore, Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), and other legislative leaders have said the state should consider authorizing more casinos, but several members have expressed opposition for expanding gambling in the state. It is unclear at this point if the casino proposal will gain enough support to become law.

Lazy Daze Opening

Saturday morning, I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz, council members Bush, Smith, and Eades at the open ceremony of the 47th Lazy Daze. 

The Park Director was the emcee and first introduced the founder, Jerry Miller. 

This was followed by a reading of a proclamation from the town crier John Webster. The Cary High School band then played the Star-Spangled Banner, and I followed them with remarks. I noted that there were 250 artists, crafts, and performers from 15 states here. I had a great time talking with people and having my picture made with our special guests.

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

Our cocreated culture has produced some amazing results, few more special than when we get to elevate a superstar and help the organization at the same time. It’s through that lens that I share the great news that Heather Whelehan has moved from her role as Principal Planner to the Director of Housing and Community Partnerships. Heather will oversee housing programs, policy, and partnerships to further goals of the Imagine Cary Community Plan and the Cary Housing Plan.
Prior to her work in Cary, she served as the Homeownership Director at the Massachusetts Housing Partnership Fund, a quasi-public housing finance agency in Boston where she led housing efforts with communities throughout the state. Heather holds a B.A. in Public Administration and Spanish from Miami University and a Masters in Public Administration from Northeastern University. She lives in Cary with her husband Tim and their five children: Colin, Norah, Meredith, Sloane, and Finola.
Promotions like Heather’s work because it’s never just about one department or program’s gain; it’s also about recognizing and addressing the real impact this has on those who will experience true loss in the change. Chief Human Resources Officer Renee Poole and her staff will be working closely with Chief Development Officer Scot Berry to take full advantage of the opportunity Heather’s move is creating to find new talent to add to our pool of incredible employees.
Another highlight from this week is that we surpassed one million cases created through Cary 311, primarily through phone calls but also via our website, email, social media, in-person interactions at Town Hall, and text messaging.  Cary’s interest in creating 311 is how Assistant Town Manager Dan Ault and I were introduced to Cary, and I’m so proud of this shared accomplishment that reflects the extensive effort to create a dynamic and responsive platform involving staff from all parts of the organization and our citizens alike.
Have a great weekend.


Tools4Schools Event

On Tuesday, Governor Cooper was joined by Mayor Weinbrecht, Council Members Bush, Johnson, and Eades, Assistant Town Manager Shelley Curran, and other elected officials at the WakeEd Partnership’s Tools4Schools store in Cary. Tools4Schools provides teachers in North Carolina’s largest school district with free school supplies to help ensure that all students in the Wake County Public School system have access to necessary supplies.

ONE Wake New York Housing Tour

Cary Housing & Community Partnerships staff Heather Whelehan and Mary McKay visited the Nehemiah Spring Creek development in East Brooklyn, New York City this week. Representatives from Cary and Wake County joined ONE Wake member organizations to tour the mixed-use development that includes apartments, townhouses, senior housing, a school, several public parks, small neighborhood businesses, and a large-scale shopping center. Silver Creek has grown in phases since the 1990s into a thriving, walkable, urban community with tree-lined streets and solar power. It is known for its mix of affordable residential choices including the Nehemiah homeownership model which has provided opportunity to over 600 first-time homebuyers. 

Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival 2023

Staff, artists, vendors, volunteers, and the Cary community are gearing up for an unforgettable weekend at the 47th annual Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival on Cary Town Hall Campus. Exciting new additions are in store for this year’s festival, including an Interactive Pixel Wall and the Lazy Lounge Hammock Grove.

Of course, the returning favorites will also be present, including over 250 artists, professional craftsman demonstrations, 25 food vendors, kids’ areas, and interactive art experiences like our giant paint by number. With an anticipated attendance of 60,000 over the course of two days, Lazy Daze promises an exciting atmosphere of creativity, relaxation, and entertainment.

Reopening of South Harrison Avenue, Dry Avenue, and West Park Street

South Harrison Ave has made significant progress over the last three months: new water mains, new sewer mains, corrected storm drainage, a new sidewalk, ADA ramps and curb, enhanced landscaping, and now a freshly resurfaced roadway. By this evening, the contractor for the annual water main replacement project, Carolina Civilworks, will remove all traffic control measures associated with the closure of South Harrison Ave between Chatham St and Faculty Dr, allowing it to reopen for through traffic. Traffic control measures on W. Park St and Dry Ave will also be removed.
The road closure will now shift to the south of Faculty Ave as we continue our infrastructure improvements in the area between Heater Dr and Faculty Ave over the next several months. We have coordinated with Cary Elementary School to ensure a safe carpool queue during the road closure south of Faculty Ave, and Police will be on hand for the start of the school year. Further updates will be provided as we proceed with additional phases of the planned water main replacement project.

ADA Curb Ramp Repairs

Several ADA curb ramp repairs have been successfully completed along Lochmere Drive in response to residents’ concerns. Staff from Public Works, Facilities, and Transportation have collaborated to enhance ten curb ramps at three intersections along Lochmere Drive. These repairs have made the sidewalk facilities in the area accessible to all users.

Bond Lake Dam Improvements and Public Meeting

The Wake County government and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service of North Carolina (NRCS) are planning to make improvements to the Bond Lake dam and spillway. Bond Lake dam has been well maintained and may be eligible for upgrades such as changing the outlet structure on the primary spillway, increasing the height of the dam, and modifying the spillway to help with potential erosion.
Because Cary owns the lake, staff will attend an inter-agency scoping meeting to discuss the design, timeline, and site plan approval along with other technical questions. This meeting will be held on August 30 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the Cary Senior Center. Wake County and NRCS are also hosting a public informational meeting on August 30 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Cary Senior Center.
More information is available at and digital comments can be submitted to

“Fly Away Home” Gets a Trim

Members of the Public Art Advisory Board gathered for a work meeting at Carpenter Park for their August session to trim and tuck in willow branches on the Patrick Dougherty willow sculpture, “Fly Away Home.” This living sculpture is greatly cherished by residents in the western neighborhoods of Cary. The Board, along with a few additional volunteers, dedicated their time to its maintenance, ensuring doorways and windows remain accessible.

Restoring the Carpenter Park Hillside

The hillside at Carpenter Park is now another shining example of organic landscaping practices and ecosystem restoration efforts that Cary is exploring. In July, the project began with the identification of the native plants and trees installed in late 2020 (including elderberry, crabapples, mulberry, sumac, and more) and the clearing of overgrowth between and around these plants with machinery, manual labor, and organic herbicide. From there, over 220 cubic yards of a mixture of organic compost, topsoil, and additional amendments were worked into the earth to kickstart soil regeneration and prepare a bed for seedlings to sprout. Having just been watered in and protected with a layer of straw, we now eagerly await the germination of native grasses (like Creeping Red Fescue, Indiangrass, Little Bluestem, and Switchgrass) and 22 native flowers including Yarrow, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Coneflower, Lupine, and Golden Rod. When established, these edible perennials, flowers, and grasses will provide additional habitat and support for pollinators and wildlife while reducing maintenance needs and ornamenting this beloved park.

Pollinator Ecosystem Yield Sweet Rewards

Successful beekeeping at South Cary Water Reclamation Facility (SCWRF) in 2022 lead to a nine-month trial period beginning March 2023 for staff and volunteers to expand pollinator protection efforts across town and to nurture honeybees at other locations like five of Cary’s fire stations and the Cary Senior Center Garden. While honey in the first year is generally saved for the bees to self-feed during winter, Cary’s hives are doing well with the assistance of dozens of recently installed native pollinator gardens across town. As staff and volunteers enter the next phase of learning about beekeeping, a couple of frames from each hive were able to be harvested this summer for people to share. At the end of July, staff across departments and Senior Center volunteers gathered at Fire Station 2 to be educated on the honey harvesting process by firefighter “Bee Lead” Davis Hodges. The success midway through the pilot has exceeded expectations and staff are moving towards long-term sustainable approaches for these precious golden drops. As honey cannot be harvested again until summer 2024, this time will be used to evaluate existing and develop new policy and procedures associated with pollinator ecosystems, bees, and honey.

2023 Annual Wastewater Report

Cary’s 2022/2023 Annual Wastewater Report is now available online, offering insights into Cary’s wastewater treatment facilities and sewer system. The report provides quick facts about our utility, descriptions of our treatment facilities, system metrics, and tips to keep the system working smoothly and the environment free from sewer spills. A new addition to this year’s report is a graphic about how Cary inspects and manages its more than 1,000 miles of sewer pipelines. We are happy to once again show that our award-winning water reclamation facilities had another exceptional year of performance.

Wake County 2023 U.S. Army Be All You Can Be Clash

On Saturday, Cary hosted American football for the first time ever at WakeMed Soccer Park. Cary, Wake County Public School System Athletics, and the US Army came together to create the first annual Be All You Can Be Clash, which served as the kickoff event for high school football in Wake County. This event, along with TST and NCAA Lacrosse, are showcasing our sports venues as versatile and nimble as staff continues to expand creative uses.

Summer Shape Up

Maintaining an active lifestyle is a key component of preventive care, which can help manage long-term health care and health care costs. To support our employees in their wellness journey, Cary hosted a six-week “Summer Shape Up” fitness challenge led by WakeMed, our wellness partner. The 55 employees who completed the challenge learned healthier habits while increasing their strength, flexibility, and endurance through a host of offerings including instructor-led cubicle workouts, boot camp, and TheraBand classes. With a focus on fitness, nutrition, hydration, sleep, and mindfulness, Cary’s staff sizzled in successfully shaping up this season.

Upcoming Meetings

Parks & Open Space Plan Public Workshop
Ritter Park Rotary Shelter
Monday, August 28
6:30 p.m.

Parks & Open Space Plan Public Workshop
Cary Senior Center
Tuesday, August 29
1:00 p.m.

Parks & Open Space Plan Public Workshop
Mills Park Elem. School
Tuesday, August 29
6:30 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A complaint that a part-time town employee is not allowed to work more.
  • A request for Cary’s plan for more pickleball courts.
  • A complaint about power outages in Cary.
  • A complaint about the Trinity Road rezoning proposal.
  • A request for lighting up the Cary Arts Center for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
  • A request for a legacy bench at Regency Lake.

Next Week

Next week I will be in San Diego most of the week for work. When I return my activities include staff meetings, a meeting with Amtrack’s Government Affairs Manager, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, the 2023 Cary Environmental Symposium, and the North Carolina Youth Classical Arts for Charity.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, September 3rd, 2023. 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 and email personal comments to

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