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Internal awareness continues to grow for the creation of 311 Cary. In addition to introducing the concept of 311 to all departments, the project team began collaborating with individual departments to explore how 311 will support their current services. These conversations, critical to a successful rollout, will continue.
As a step toward launching 311 Cary in January 2020, current employees were invited to join 311 as potential citizen advocates. Nineteen employees submitted letters of interest, and 17 participated in interviews. The citizen advocates from across the organization will begin training this summer.
Warren and PleasantsWork done on the Warren and Pleasants Avenue maintenance pilot during Q4 provided more evidence that Cary’s adaptive strategy is producing positive results. After receiving the homeowners’ right of entry permission in Q2, Town crews began cleaning the pipes in Q3 and finished in Q4. During the cleaning process, crews identified a needed repair; that work is expected to be complete in the fall.
Arbor Brook and Summer LakesThe drainage improvement projects completed at Arbor Brook Drive and Summer Lakes Drive, and the upcoming work designed for Vinecrest Court and Two Creeks Road in the fall, are stormwater infrastructure projects that are also making a difference to the lives of citizens in our community. At Two Creeks, a commonsense approach alleviated the risk of structural flooding. At Vinecrest, adaptive policies were used to mitigate flooding, keeping roadways safe. In the case of Arbor Brook, a creative solution flowing from private and public cooperation mitigated structural flooding. The adaptive approach to stormwater capital projects is also building strong relationships with citizens and enhancing community resilience.
Walnut Creek Basin ModelThe Walnut Creek Basin Model initiative continues with Phase 2 which incorporates the area between Fenton and the City of Raleigh. A modeling scope-of-work has been finalized and model modification will begin this summer. The Town has contracted to have nine water level sensors and three rain gauges installed along the upper reaches of Walnut Creek. Data collected from these sensors will be used to calibrate the Walnut Creek Basin Model.
Floodplain Management: Community Rating System
Staff began evaluating FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) program because it is complementary and consistent with Cary’s Adaptive Stormwater efforts to increase and improve preservation and management of Cary’s natural resources. CRS is a voluntary incentive program that rewards actions a community takes to reduce flood losses. Flood insurance premium discounts are awarded for community activities such as preserving open space, public education and flood mitigation.
The program’s emphasis on restoration of the natural functions of the floodplain is aligned with and can help accomplish Cary’s vision for stormwater management, sustainability and the preservation of open space and natural resources as outlined in the 2013 Town of Cary Stormwater Master Plan as well as Cary’s 2040 Community Plan. Staff will continue to evaluate the program over the next several months and provide recommendations on participation in the program next year.
The Environmental Advisory Board (EAB) provided feedback on three important environmental topics this quarter. Advisory Board members have shown exceptional dedication and commitment to learning about, investigating, and discussing challenging municipal issues like carbon emissions, tree canopy and recycling.
First, EAB members completed their year-long reading and discussion of Drawdown, a book edited by Paul Hawken, that outlines the top 100 solutions to reverse global warming. This reading informed their set of recommendations on carbon reduction. Staff is reviewing those recommendations and working on statewide efforts to collaborate with other municipalities and the State of North Carolina to remove barriers to reducing carbon emissions and to expand the opportunities to use renewable energy.
The EAB also completed recommendations on ways to improve the tree canopy in Cary. Staff are currently working with NC State University to build a tree canopy baseline using LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensing data. Staff is evaluating these recommendations and working regionally to share resources, as other local jurisdictions are examining the same issue in the face of continued strong regional growth.
Finally, the EAB has embarked on a longer-term effort to assist staff in examining our recycling system, the logistics and economics behind that system and providing feedback in terms of both local, national, and worldwide changes to the recycling industry.