Mayor Harold Weinbrecht publishes his weekly blog post on his personal blog (mayorweinbrecht.com), 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.
Cary #3 in Job Market and Housing Affordability
SmartAdvisor Match ranked Cary #3 in the nation for Job Market and housing affordability. Here is an excerpt from their article:
“… Cary was most affordable studywide, when comparing the median income to median housing costs (15.2% of a $123,857 income). Unemployment here was a bit on the higher side at 5.3%, which tends to be the trend for cities with higher median incomes. More than 41% of the workforce here was remote, and 86% of the workforce had private health insurance. Over two years, income grew by roughly 16.5%. …”
Cary #10 for Cleanest Tap Water
The Travel ranked Cary as the tenth best tap water in the nation. Here is an excerpt from their article:
“… Located near North Carolina’s famed Research Triangle, this Raleigh suburb consistently ranks among the top cities for best-tasting tap water in the US. Cary gets its water from nearby Jordan Lake, minimizing the need for harsh chemical treatment. The town’s water is naturally soft with the perfect balance of minerals for a crisp, clean flavor. …”
Unfortunately, this article views Cary as a Raleigh suburb. That is a couple of decades behind. But at least they are current on the water.
On Monday I was contacted by WRAL who was doing a story on the sale of Chatham Estates which is a 37-acre shopping center and trailer park. WRAL wanted to know what the town would be doing for affordable housing. Here is a summary we provided to WRAL:
- As owner of the property, Curtis Westbrook recently began marketing the sale of 37.8 acres located at the intersection of E. Chatham Street and SE Maynard Road. Lee & Associates listed it for approximately $50 million, and according to the owner, it is one of the last remaining large assemblages in the downtown Cary area and is 100% occupied.
- The property currently has a mobile home park, Chatham Estates, and is directly adjacent to, but does not include, Cary’s other mobile home community, Mobile Estates. The site also includes retail space, Chatham Square Shopping Center, and Maynard Plaza.
- We have a keen eye on the sale of Chatham Square and welcome the opportunity to work with any potential new owners to communicate Cary’s vision and needs as we do with all property in Cary.
- This property includes a mobile home park and Cary staff have been in contact with local groups interested in working with those residents. This includes Dorcas Ministries, Taylor Family YMCA, Northwest Cary YMCA, The Carying Place, OneWake, and the Western Regional Housing Action Group.
- Since the Council’s approval of the Cary Housing Plan in November 2021, the Town has created several grants and programs to support affordable housing in Cary. This fiscal year, Cary has proposed a budget of approximately $5M to support affordable housing efforts. In addition to this, Cary has set aside $5M of our American Rescue Plan Act dollars to support affordable housing and supportive services, including direct financial support to non-profits working with residents, a non-profit capacity building program to scale up these programs, and emergency utility assistance.
- Cary has also utilized Town-owned property to develop affordable housing, notably the 921 SE Maynard site, which is anticipated to be completed by early 2025 and will include 126 units of mixed-income housing, which is physically in the geographic vicinity.
It was my hope WRAL would provide complete and factual information in their story. Unfortunately, they provided very little of the information I sent them in the story.
Hometown Spirit Award Nominations
Cary is currently accepting nominations for the Hometown Spirit Award. If you know someone in the community that you would like to nominate you can do so here. To find out more about the Hometown Spirit Award go here.
Town Manager One-On-One
Monday I talked with the town manager for our weekly one-on-one. Topics included the tennis center expansion and the professional tennis tournament that just finished, a future mayor-manager workshop, and activities of candidates running for council.
Wake County Mayors Association Meeting
Monday night I attended a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association in Fuquay Varina. We were treated to a private tour of their arts center and a catered meal. Attended were mayors from Cary, Fuquay Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, and Morrisville. Our roundtable discussion included our thoughts on municipal races in our communities. The meeting concluded after about two and a half hours.
Wednesday I attended a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organizations Executive Board. The agenda included 3 consent items, 4 public hearings, and 2 discussion items.
The consent agenda included minutes from past meetings, a resolution on transit asset performance measures, and the FY2024 work plan. These items were approved unanimously without discussion.
The board also held and unanimously approved all 4 public hearing items which included amendment #13 to FY2020-2029 Transportation Improvement Program, prioritization 7.0 of the Modal Candidate Project Lists, a new MPO boundary that now includes Coats and Lillington, and an update to the Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program Management Plan.
Under discussion, the executive board was provided information on amendment #1 to FY2024-2033 Transportation Improvement Program, and the regional rail subcommittee.
The meeting concluded after about an hour and a half.
Anthony Blackman Memorial
This was a tough week for me and many in our community as we said goodbye to Anthony Blackman who was not only an incredible philanthropist for Cary but a friend to everyone he met. At his memorial service on Thursday, I was honored with the privilege of providing remarks. I spent a few days working on the remarks with dozens of revisions. In the end I felt nothing I said to capture all that Anthony had done for our community. The following are the remarks I spoke from:
“Our community lost one of its most beloved citizens a few days ago. Anthony Blackman was a selfless man with a giving heart, served others with love and humility, and spread his kindness to everyone he met. I will miss him. We will miss him.
I have been involved in local government for over 25 years, 20 years as an elected official, and the last 16 as mayor. During that time, I have met LOTS and LOTS of people. Some wanted to meet me, some wanted to take a picture with me, some wanted to be at events, some wanted to be seen at events, and some even wanted to help Cary if it was convenient for them. But every once in a while, I would run across someone that I call the REAL DEAL. Someone that’s ALL IN and will do whatever it takes to help. Someone that would give you the shirt off their back. And THAT’S who Anthony Blackman was. His unwavering support of our community is one of the reasons Cary is as great as it is today. Anthony supported countless nonprofits, the chamber, business organizations, and was recognized for his leadership many times including Cary’s Hometown Spirit Award in 2019.
There are so many examples of Anthony’s giving. One in particular sticks in my mind, the Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships, which Anthony has sponsored since it started. During the pandemic there were very few tournaments throughout the world. And the tournaments that were played were held without spectators. So, if they were not televised there would be little benefit for a sponsor. Anthony sponsored the tournament anyway. This allowed players to play for points that they desperately needed to get into other tournaments, to make more money, to continue their careers. I believe some of their careers might have ended without opportunities provided such as the ATC. So, in that one act of kindness, he changed lives. And there are many more examples of this. Anthony always gave from his heart.
The reason I used this example was to emphasize the ripple effect of Anthony’s kindness and giving. Yes, he touched lives in our community but probably made a difference in other lives of people in the nation or around the world. There is really no way of knowing the impact of his kindness and generosity.
The way Anthony lived his life reminds me of a saying from St. Francis of Assisi said: “Preach the gospel each and every day and use words if necessary.” To me that means LIVE your faith. Know that your faithful actions are more powerful than sermons. And if we live our lives like Anthony with integrity, humility, and loving others, people will notice, and they will want to be more like you. And as a result, you done God’s will.
Ladies and Gentlemen Anthony Blackman WAS the real deal. He blessed so many lives in so many ways.
A wise man once said, “The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” Anthony’s love for others IS his legacy. His life was well lived, and we were so very blessed that he shared his love with us. Though our hearts ache today, there is good news, heaven has a new angel, Anthony Blackman. Rest in Peace Anthony!”
Anthony loved Cary and I believe his wish would be that others in Cary would model his example and step up to do more for the town they love.
Advisory Board Volunteer Appreciation
Thursday night I attended a town volunteer appreciation event for our boards and commissions. In my remarks I recognized some of the outgoing and incoming members. Afterwards I took time to talk with and take pictures with several people including Ryan Eades from the council. Also attending from the council were Jack Smith, Jennifer Robinson, and Lori Bush. I was a great way to give thanks for their service and welcome the new people.
NC Metro Mayors
The North Carolina Metro Mayors met on Friday to hear and discuss legislative actions. Here is a summary of legislative actions from KTS Strategies:
This week, the General Assembly passed the compromise version of the state budget in a series of votes on Thursday and Friday. Highlights of the $30 billion spending plan include 7% teacher pay raises, income tax rate reduction to 3.99% by 2025, $2 billion investment in water and sewer infrastructure, major expansion of private school vouchers, and enactment of Medicaid Expansion. The budget did not include the proposal to authorize more casinos or legalize video lottery terminals (VLTs) in North Carolina. Governor Roy Cooper announced in a statement that he would let the budget become law without his signature, and he directed the state Department of Health and Human Services to begin the process of expanding Medicaid today.
NC Constitution at Page-Walker
Friday evening I attended an Constitutional event at the Page-Walker. At this event were the NC Constitution of 1776 and 1868, and related original documents (including a letter from John Adams of the NC’s 13thAmendment which ended slavery. These were on loan from the State Archives for just one day. In attendance where several folks from the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution dressed in period costumes. I had a great looking at the historic items, talking with attendees, and taking a few pictures.
Early Voting for Cary Town Council has begun. Here is the remaining scheduled for early voting:
|Date||Day||Start Time||End Time|
|September 25, 2023||Monday||11:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|September 26, 2023||Tuesday||11:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|September 27, 2023||Wednesday||11:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|September 28, 2023||Thursday||11:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|September 29, 2023||Friday||11:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|September 30, 2023||Saturday||8:00 a.m.||3:00 p.m.|
|October 1, 2023||Sunday||1:00 p.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|October 2, 2023||Monday||11:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|October 3, 2023||Tuesday||11:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|October 4, 2023||Wednesday||11:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|October 5, 2023||Thursday||11:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|October 6, 2023||Friday||11:00 a.m.||6:00 p.m.|
|October 7, 2023||Saturday||8:00 a.m.||3:00 p.m.|
Cary Town Council makes decisions that impact on you directly. They are the closest form of government to the citizens. It is extremely important that you are informed and vote so that elected officials can help Cary remain as one of the best communities in the nation.
My Cary Municipal Election Endorsements
During this election cycle I have offered help to all candidates and have stated that I will endorse only incumbents. Unfortunately, some have used my help to mislead the public that I am endorsing them. Just to be clear the following are my endorsements and quotes about them:
Harold Weinbrecht (me) – I am fortunate to be unopposed during this cycle and would appreciate your ongoing support and your vote.
Lori Bush – “I have known my good friend Lori Bush for decades. She is a caring, compassionate, and committed person and has been invaluable on council. From her tireless work on Affordable Housing, to the greening of our Town, to improving our technological capabilities, she has proven time and time again that she is committed, dedicated, and compassionate in making Cary the best it can be. She has my endorsement and unwavering support for her re-election to the Cary Town Council.”
Don Frantz – “Big ideas often require bold leadership to make the idea a reality and our downtown park is no exception. Don Frantz has been first among equals as the park’s supercharged advocate. Don’s courage, conviction and optimism have been remarkable and his clear focus on the goal has been unwavering.”
Ryan Eades – “Ryan has the knowledge, experience, and leadership we desperately need from our District D representative especially during this critical time in Cary. I’ve witnessed firsthand his ability to bring people together to get things done and his passion for making our community better. I wholeheartedly endorse him and encourage others to elect to keep Ryan on the Cary Council.”
Please vote! Cary’s future depends on it.
Town Manager’s Report
Staff is monitoring this weekend’s predicted severe weather. Programming changes for outdoor events will be made as needed to help ensure our citizens’ safe enjoyment. In particular, Saturday’s Farmer’s Market Fall Festival will not be held, and the park tour for boards and commissions is being moved to September 30.
2023 Volunteer Appreciation Event
On Thursday, Council, staff, and advisory board members gathered at Colletta in Fenton for a night of appreciation for Cary’s Council-appointed advisory board volunteers. During the event, Mayor Weinbrecht shared remarks welcoming new members and recognizing the 20 outgoing members who have terms ending on advisory boards.
Cary Hosts the 8th Annual Asia Fest with Dragon Boat Races
On Saturday, the Cary-based non-profit Asia Focus Inc. produced its 8th annual Asia Fest at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. Organizers estimate approximately 10,000 visitors. The festival featured a variety of pan-Asian foods, arts and crafts, cultural performances, and a health fair. The main events, however, were the Dragon Boat Races on Symphony Lake. Cary’s Fire Department members fielded a race team this year with Mayors Harold Weinbrecht and TJ Cawley (Morrisville). They were within hundredths of a second from matching times posted for the top three winners overall!
NY Maynard Road Construction
In October, contractors will begin installing .66 mile of water main and 1,700 feet of sidewalk, and ADA updates between High House Road and Old Apex Road. The 24-inch water main will parallel the existing 12-inch main and reinforce water transmission capacity to the central pressure zone. The project is anticipated to take about 12 months to complete.
Construction will primarily occur in the northbound lanes; however, traffic delays and shifts are expected in both directions. Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians can stay updated with traffic delays by downloading the Glance TravelSafely App.
September Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships
Last week, the Cary Tennis Park hosted the second Atlantic Tire Championship Tournament. American Zachary Svajda defeated Australian Rinky Hijikata, who finished in the round of 16 in the US Open earlier in the month. The Men’s Challenger 75, which features $80,000 in prize money, brought in great crowds and some awesome tennis.
Loch Highlands Drive Offset Speed Humps
A new-to-Cary traffic calming device, the offset speed hump, was constructed earlier this year as a pilot along Loch Highlands Drive. Since their installation, staff engaged with community members to better understand how these devices perform. Based on community feedback and input from Cary Police and Fire, staff recommended supplementing the offset speed humps with Zicla lane separators (pictured above). These devices help remind drivers to maintain the proper lane position when approaching the offset humps. Thanks to the staff in Public Works for completing this installation. Transportation staff will continue to engage with residents by collecting feedback on the project webpage to understand how this addition to the project is received.
Year of the Trail – Carpenter Area Greenway Walk
2023 has been designated North Carolina’s Year of the Trail, and Cary has joined in to celebrate our vast network of greenways and showcase our diverse landscapes and healthy urban forests through a series of events. The recent Carpenter Area Trail Walk was held with Good Hope Farm’s Harvest Fest to highlight the outstanding work along a three-mile section of greenway. From the Greenways Booth at the festival, Trail Walk participants started their journey at the farm with a brief presentation about Carpenter Village’s history and agriculture’s role in our community. The trailblazers continued to Carpenter Park to learn about native tree plantings and wildlife restoration work, followed by a presentation on birding. Future greenway plans and neighborhood access points were highlighted and discussed as the walkers walked along the trail.
Harvest Fest Celebrates Cary’s Agriculture Heritage
September’s Harvest Fest attracted hundreds of guests for agritourism, history, and environmental education. This diverse celebration brought together twelve farmers, nine nonprofits, six sustainable businesses, and four of Cary’s environmental initiative areas to facilitate an afternoon of family-friendly fun on the farm. Guests enjoyed purchasing fresh produce and green-themed crafts while they chatted with experts about native plants, solar energy, composting, wetland restorations, and more. Harvest Fests will continue throughout the fall season with additional opportunities for the community to visit, tour, and explore the Good Hope Farm.
Cary’s Composting Efforts Expanding
Construction is underway at Mills Park to host Cary’s second food waste recycling drop-off. Since 2022, Cary residents have dropped off nearly 133,000 pounds of food waste at the first site located at the Citizen’s Convenience Center. The future Mills Park drop-off provides additional opportunities for citizens to have their food waste diverted from the landfill, converted into compost, and used to support soil health in our region. The new facility is expected to open in 2024 and will accept cooked and raw meat, bones, eggs, breads, and more. Staff is working to ensure that future operations, design, and education campaigns will be ready to launch for the continued success of this award-winning service.
Cultural Arts Committee
Tuesday, September 26
Thursday, September 28
- Questions about blasting at Providence at Yates Pond.
- Questions about student reassignments.
- A question about restriping the parking deck next to the library.
- A concern about the town’s tree canopy.
- Questions about communication between a neighborhood and the police department.
- A thank you for helping with obtaining trolleys for a historic tour.
- A thank you for the advisory boards and commissions appreciation event.
- A complaint about last week’s journal entry.
- A congratulation to the Cary firefighters and police officers for winning the bronze metal in the dragon boat races.
- A complaint about the timing of a traffic signal at Green Level West and Green Level Church Roads.
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, an Atlantic Tire Championships Board meeting, a reception for Don Frantz, the Cary Chamber’s Annual Banquet, the last regularly scheduled meeting of September, a NC Metro Mayors meeting, a pre-interview for a mayor-manager workshop, and a charity road race.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Saturday, September 30th, 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 Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to email@example.com.