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The proposed master plans for neighborhood parks at McCrimmon Parkway and Carpenter Fire Station Road were shared at the November 7 open house and via the project webpages. The plans reflected a year of public input. Acquisition of the last property within the Carpenter Fire Station Road site opened the way to design the park to its fullest potential. The Town’s future right-of-way needs for Carpenter Fire Station Road were also addressed in the plan. The design team is now finalizing plans and reports for consideration by advisory boards and Council.
Bibliophiles will be excited to know the new Cary Regional Library in downtown is approximately 50 percent complete and on schedule to open in fall 2019. The adjacent seven-level, 600-space parking deck is also about 50 percent complete. The foundations were completed this fall; now arriving are the prefabricated deck segments that are being assembled on site using a 240-foot crane.
The Downtown Park is coming into focus. On November 27, approximately 200 people attended the second public meeting for the Downtown Park Master Plan. The design team, OJB, presented three master plan alternatives based on public feedback from the first workshop. Afterwards, attendees provided feedback on the alternatives. Currently, OJB is working on the preferred master plan and programming and cost estimate while staff discusses funding options.
The fourth annual Chinese Lantern Festival ran from November to mid-January. The Festival featured new lanterns and exciting cultural performances by Chinese artists. The popular event garnered over 74,000 attendees by December 31. That figure is 1,600 more than for the same period in 2017. It appears the Festival will surpass the 2017 attendance of approximately 90,000.
The Hive, recreational leased space in western Cary, officially opened in October, providing classes and activities for all ages. We celebrated the first week by offering free programs to encourage citizens to “experience for yourself.” The Hive’s open house and ribbon cutting ceremony was held on October 29 with free demos highlighting our most popular programs. The Hive was “busy as a bee” with more than 400 people participating in 54 programs during the first two months. The Hive will offer a full slate of recreation and arts programming beginning in January 2019. The Hive’s convenient location also allows it to serve as a venue for public meetings in western Cary.
OrdinancesIn the early 2000’s, Cary adopted ordinances that prohibit development in the floodplain or riparian buffer. These changes effectively eliminated new development in flood-prone areas. Stone Creek Village was presented as an excellent example of how our ordinance revisions leveraged stormwater management for a positive outcome for flood mitigation in that area. Cary has over 1,000 privately-owned stormwater control measures in which developers have invested roughly $60 million of capital; private citizens continue to invest over $5 million annually to maintain the facilities. Building on these successes, Council agreed that further evaluation of the ordinances related to stormwater were warranted. Additionally, green stormwater infrastructure will be further evaluated for future implementation.
MaintenanceIn the Walnut Creek Basin Pilot Area, Public Works has inspected close to 9,000 feet of storm drain pipe and determined that 3,688 feet required cleaning. This information has been key in updating Cary’s Asset Management and Condition Assessment data to include the condition of the infrastructure. Additionally, it helps identify gaps in technology and processes that can be used as we continue beyond the pilot.
The most important discussion point may be that 65 percent of the storm drain pipes in Cary are on private property and outside municipal maintenance responsibility. Staff received Council support to explore these intertwined aging infrastructure networks. Within the pilot area, staff will focus on this effort near the Warren Avenue and Pleasants Avenue intersection.
ModelingThe pilot modeling effort has demonstrated that a holistic approach to dealing with storm drainage issues is essential. This dynamic model offers the opportunity to assess existing condition impacts along Walnut Creek, as well as into its upper reaches. It also allows analysis of circumstances where engineering solutions can mitigate structural flooding or where open space is needed.
Open SpaceThe most effective tool for alleviating structural flooding may be open space. Not allowing development in a floodplain or riparian buffer is Cary’s most beneficial means of floodplain management. The Town leverages the use of open space by including floodplain management as one of many benefits of parks, greenways and tree canopy. Additionally, open space is an indicator of the overall environmental, social and economic well-being of the community.
Over 12,000 attendees enjoyed performances, educational displays and Indian culinary treats during the Diwali festival at Koka Booth Amphitheatre on October 13. The day’s festivities were capped off with a fireworks display. A special highlight was performances by some of our elected officials, including Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, Mayor Pro Tem Lori Bush and former Council Member and current NC House delegate Gale Adcock.
This year’s Veterans Day Observance took place on the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice that ended World War I. Over 280 attendees heard remarks from Council Member Jack Smith, Paul Berry of USO of NC and Frank Sancil, former Post Commander of American Legion. A Field of Flags was coordinated by the Carolina Veterans Support Group and placed by American Legion Post 530 and Boy Scout Troup 200. The St. Francis Brass Quintet performed patriotic music.
Heart of the Holidays
Heart of the Holidays was celebrated with numerous activities. Starting the week of Thanksgiving, the Gifting Tree Project provided Academy Street and the Downtown Park with 48 trees to support local charities. The Cat Angels Pet Adoption tree received the most votes. On December 1, the Ginger Bread House competition also saw a record number of participants with 29 houses submitted that were hosted by 14 downtown business. Winners included the judge’s choice, Elf Sweet Home by Julie Bisenius, and the People’s Choice Award, Festive Cottage by the Lavin Family. The day was capped off by the official Christmas Tree Lighting. Hometown Spirit Award winner Guy Mendenhall flipped the switch, bringing countless colorful lights aglow on the towering live tree on Town Hall Campus.
A menorah lighting was held on the Cary Arts Center lawn on December 6 in observance of Hanukkah. Mayor Pro Tem Lori Bush was joined by representatives from the Raleigh-Cary Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary, Beth Shalom and Chabad of Cary. Over 75 citizens braved the cold and joined in the celebration of lights.
Over 400 people enjoyed the colorful sights and sounds of the 24th Annual Cary Kwanzaa Celebration at the Cary Arts Center on December 28. The annual event is a communal, cultural celebration that honors our African-American heritage and is a celebration for all people, focusing on family, friends and the fruits of the earth. Co-sponsored by the Ujima Group, Inc., the theme for this year’s celebration was “Working to Build A Kind and Just World” and featured a wide array of performances, including percussionist Bradley Simmons (pictured bottom left), jazz ensemble The Mac McLaughin Group and the Collage Dance Company. Vocalist Shannon and piano and flute duo of Elmer Gibson and Lori Barmer closed out the show. A highlight of the day was the traditional Kwanzaa ceremony with libation, candle lighting and Harambee Circle.
Cary once again played host to the 18th Annual PGA Tour Champions SAS Championship. Held October 8-14 at Prestonwood Country Club, the tournament showcased top golfers in the world over age 50 who competed for three days for a tournament purse of $2.1 million. In addition to the support of the community and fans, the SAS Championship has contributed over $4 million to youth educational initiatives, most notably, the Triangle YMCA’s Learning Program.
The Town of Cary sponsors and co-sponsors many events throughout the year, including the SAS Championship. Commencing in 2001, the SAS Championship is responsible for over $140 million in economic impact for Cary and the Triangle area. The Golf Channel featured live broadcasting of the SAS Championship with coverage available in more than 200 million homes in 84 countries and 11 languages. By taking advantage of TV commercial spots, event signage and hosted tournament viewing areas, Cary was well positioned and represented.
In addition to the three days of tournament play, the SAS Championship hosts multiple events designed to bring the community together. Those events include Food Truck Friday, O2 Fitness 5K, the PNC Family Challenge Clinic and Blue Cross Blue Shield Executive Women’s Day. Chief Human Resources Officer Renee Poole represented the Town of Cary on the Power Panel for Executive Women’s Day, and over 30 women from the Town of Cary attended the event.
Cary’s WakeMed Soccer Park was in the national spotlight throughout the quarter. The Carolina Courage, Cary’s professional women’s soccer team, claimed an historic “treble” by winning the Women’s International Champions Cup, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Shield and the NWSL Championship, breaking multiple records along the way in the most dominant and most successful U.S. women’s professional soccer season to date.
In October, Cary hosted a World Cup Soccer Qualifying Event, the CONCACAF Women’s Championship (Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football). In this event, six international games were held at WakeMed featuring the US Women’s National team. In November, Cary hosted both the ACC Women’s and the ACC Men’s Soccer Championships. In December, the town hosted, for the 12th time, the NCAA Women’s Soccer College Cup Championship.