Experiencing the Cary Community
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Beautiful weather graced the 43rd annual Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival, with estimates of over 60,000 patrons enjoying the art, music, food and community at this two-day event. Sunshine Artist Magazine recognized Lazy Daze as one of the top 50 arts & crafts festivals in the U.S. Many festival-goers were able to take a “selfie” to post on social media in front of the unique 3-D art backdrop.
On Sunday, September 23, Cary held the annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. The event took on a new format this year, combining the annual Volunteer Banquet, usually held in late winter, with the Volunteer Picnic, held each fall. The picnic theme was ‘Thanks Y’all!’ with over 400 volunteers and their family members enjoying a southern dinner, games and entertainment. Over 33,500 hours were reported from volunteers supporting Cary’s events, activities and facilities since the last recognition event in 2017. In addition to honoring these volunteers, a ticket raffle was held for the Play It Forward Scholarship Fund, raising over $2,200 for the scholarship program.
The Volunteer of the Year Awards were given out in nine categories. This year’s recipients were:
Don Smith Award: David Sinodis
Distinguished New Coach: Kathy Hackett
Cultural Arts: Lester Thomas
Partner Organization: Kids Together, Inc.
Events Volunteer: Dan Pike
Outstanding Teen: Amy Chang
Senior Volunteer: Mike Walsh
Parks & Trails Award: Laura White
Herb Young Award: Sarah Martin
Local kids and teens experienced a fantastic summer due to the 180 camps and activities provided throughout Cary this year. Whether full day, half day, workshops or clinics, almost 10,000 children participated. Summer 2018 was a banner season with an increase of 10% in participation and 17% in revenue compared to 2017. Some of the most popular camps included Pottery Around the World, Bond Park Summer Day, Youth Art Express, and Junior Tennis. Trending up were the outdoor adventures, STEM, WakeMed Soccer Day Camp and specialty camps.
Public Works crews have proactively cleaned and video inspected over two-thirds of the storm drains within the pilot area of the Walnut Creek Basin. As they proceed, the pipes’ structural condition and integrity are documented for use in our condition assessment prioritization tool. One focus area has been the intersection of Warren Avenue and Pleasants Drive where there has been frequent flooding. Recent modeling indicates that cleaning the long sections of pipe that are privately owned may be beneficial.
The maintenance practices will continue in the pilot area and then expand to other priority areas within the Town as identified through the Town’s Condition Assessment and Risk Prioritization program.
ModelingThe Walnut Creek hydraulic model is being used as the central ‘source of truth’ in evaluating potential projects within the watershed. It has been used to evaluate areas such as the Warren and Pleasants intersection, opportunities within the downtown park, upsizing of the stormwater infrastructure as a part of the S. Walker Street sidewalk project, quantifying benefits of open space along the Walnut Creek corridor and assessing potential impact of green infrastructure improvements.
Open SpaceThe Open Space Group, in conjunction with the entire Adaptive Stormwater team and a newly formed citizen tree team, has identified ways to holistically integrate shared goals that benefit the community. The team is using existing and recently generated data via GIS layers for open space/stormwater opportunities. The Open Space team also visited the NCSU Geospatial Analytics Department to gain insight into new technologies and to form a relationship for future work.
OrdinanceThe Ordinance Group continues to evaluate existing and potential stormwater-related ordinances and policies. There are a variety of challenges being evaluated by the team, including level and extent of service, private drainage assistance, public purpose and the incorporation of green infrastructure. This group is working to prepare options or solutions to bring to Council in the future.
Downtown Working GroupThe Downtown Working Group met in July to provide feedback on the direction of our adaptive stormwater initiative. Each sub-group presented what they have been working on and received excellent feedback to help focus the direction. Staff continues to have conversation with group members on various stormwater topics. Group members have been actively engaged in various conversations ranging from Hurricane Florence to reviewing a grant application for Stormwater Green Infrastructure through the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network. The Downtown Working Group meets again at the beginning of Q2.
Public Meetings, Citizen Open House, Project Kickoffs, Neighborhood Meetings
Staff continues to maintain regular contact with the Concerned Citizens of Northwest Cary, the group that formed during the fall of 2017, to work with the Town on understanding and mitigating concerns related to the Amberly C-Store development at 355 Stonecroft Lane.
After nearly one year of relationship building, we have become a team working together to identify and implement traffic calming solutions. The neighborhood is enjoying the new crosswalk at Village Orchard Road and is currently seeking to vote on adding chokers to Hortons Creek Road.
In August, the Adaptive Stormwater Open Space Team hosted five citizen tree advocates, including two citizens from the EAB Tree Advisory Committee. The staff team and citizens enjoyed getting to know each other better while discussing the Open Space Team’s current activities and ideas on how to engage the community more on the topics of stormwater, trees and open space. We continue to work on growing our relationship and figuring out how we can work together to achieve mutual goals.
Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau Strategic Plan
Beginning in August 2017, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) partnered with JLL to lead the strategic planning process. The strategic planning process became a logical next step after completion of the GRCVB’s Destination2028 project. Destination2028 identified some of the county’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities related to tourism. This project demonstrated that the county would benefit from a comprehensive, strategic tourism development plan.
Specifically, the strategic planning process aims to address the county’s needs to drive overnight visitation and prioritize what infrastructure should be funded from the inter-local tax funds. This study will provide a road map and plan for Wake County and the communities within it as to what we need to enhance or build based on research and input from residents and stakeholders.
Guiding the process with monthly meetings is a 19-member steering committee. JLL used a variety of means to gather input as part of the strategic planning process. The primary methods used were stakeholder interviews, stakeholder and resident surveys, and focus group meetings. On August 21, 2017, JLL met with Cary staff to discuss the strategic planning process and to gather input. Following the completion of the strategic plan, the GRCVB and JLL met with each community. Cary’s meeting was on September 26, 2018.
Downtown Cary Park
This summer, planning officially began for the next phase of Downtown Cary Park. The Office of James Burnett was hired and began their work collecting data for the park. The months of July and August were spent obtaining public input regarding preferences for the future park. On July 27, over 300 citizens attended the first Community Workshop for the park. At the same time an online survey was posted for the project, which received over 1,100 responses.
Town staff, working in conjunction with the consultants, attended additional events in downtown Cary, including Lazy Daze, and at Koka Booth Amphitheatre to obtain a broad spectrum of public input for the project. Again, to ensure input from a comprehensive demographic, staff also presented to over 200 teens at the initial Teen Council meeting in late August. The teens then completed a survey of their preferences for the future park.
With this input, the consultants are developing three alternative park concepts. The next public meeting for the Downtown Cary Park project will likely occur later this year to present the alternatives.