Chapel Hill Approves Construction of Pedestrian Bridge

The Chapel Hill Town Council approved the construction of a pedestrian bridge over Morgan Creek between Ashe Place and Arboretum Drive at their meeting on June 13.

Funding for the project will come from a 2015 greenways bond.

Jim Orr, director of parks and recreation department, estimated construction cost will be between $125,000- $150,000. Design and permit fees will cost an additional $84,000.

The bridge will be about 60 feet long.

Rob Moody who lives adjacent to the proposed bridge expressed his concerns about the bridge’s impact on the environment.

“The flooding we had the last couple of months, that water came really close to my house and our concern is that building any impediment to Morgan Creek to let that water go on down creek causing the risk of our house to flood,” said Moody.

The Parks and Recreation department said they would consider signage marking private property.

Others like Vicki Booth were concerned about wildlife. Part of the bridge would be built on the Botanical Garden’s land.

“Also speaking for the birds, the blue heron, the raccoons, the possum, the red fox and the turtle that laid eggs in our backyard,” said Booth, “and the beauty of the trees and the nature, and the quiet, I ask you not to build a bridge at Ashe Place.”

Morgan Creek marks the town limits. The town has reached out to the county for help with the project.

But much of the public response, including public comment and emails to the town, has been in support of the project. Public comment for the project was held in April and May.

Dee Fortson said the bridge would connect her to neighbors who live just across the creek.

“It is really silly that if my kids want to play I have to drive out Fordham Boulevard and do this like three mile loop to come back in to take them to a playdate that’s a five minute walk away or I’m dragging them through the creek,” said Fortson.

The bridge will provide access to UNC and Fordham Boulevard for those that live south of the creek and connect to a path that runs out to Merritt Pasture.

Once the bridge design is complete, it will be presented to the town council to make sure all privacy concerns are met.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/chapel-hill-approves-construction-of-pedestrian-bridge

MLK Pre-Construction; OCPL Fine Forgiveness; H’Boro Sidewalks And Greenways

ORANGE COUNTY – Motorists driving south on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Chapel Hill should expect delays due to lane closures this week.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is performing maintenance activities in areas of the road to prepare for an upcoming resurfacing project. The project was scheduled to begin Monday, but did not due to rain. More rain is expected Tuesday and could have the same effect. However, rain days were built into the project and at this time it is not scheduled to go past Friday.

Delays are scheduled during non-peak traffic times between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

For real-time travel information, you can call 511 or click here.

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The Orange County Public Library is offering a fine forgiveness and free replacement library cards now through May 12.

“No matter how late,” all fines will be waived when you return overdue books, DVDs, CDs, and magazines. If you can’t find your library card, you can also get a free replacement until the 12th. Any other time, a replacement card is $2.

You can take advantage of both of these money-saving events at the Main Library in Hillsborough, the Cybrary, and the Carrboro Branch.

For more information, click here.

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The Town of Hillsborough is preparing to design and construct its sidewalks in its CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) Sidewalk Connections Project and is seeking from engineers.

The project needs NCDOT Pre-qualified private engineer firms who can construct a series of sidewalks and a portion of paved greenway to connect various neighborhoods to the Riverwalk Greenway in a safe manner.

CMAQ is funding the project; letters of interest are due by 1:30 p.m. June 3.

For more information, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-town/mlk-pre-construction-ocpl-fine-forgiveness-hboro-sidewalks-and-greenways

Chapel Hill Town Council Ponders Funding For Park Plan

CHAPEL HILL- At Monday’s public hearing, the Chapel Hill Town Council got a look at a draft of the new Parks and Recreation master plan. The plan calls for just under $50 million in capital spending, including $12 million for park renovations, $11 million to develop new parks, $10 million for greenways and $22 million for recreation facilities and a cultural arts center.
But Derek Williams, a consultant hired to help draft the plan, told the council those are long-term goals.

“I don’t think anyone really expects that all of these improvements will be made in ten years,” said Williams. “The most important thing is to have a plan and a map, and then to work your way down that plan and use that map to get where you’re trying to go.”

Town Manager Roger Stancil said it will be several years before the town could issue debt to pay for park improvements without having to raise property taxes.

“Without a tax increase for the debt service fund, the debt capacity is relatively limited,” said Stancil. “The first year would be 2016-17 when we have capacity in the debt service fund to be able to incur debt without some sort of tax increase.”

With that in mind, council members said they want to find innovative ways to fund the plan, perhaps by partnering with the school system, nonprofits and other local governments.

“We need to continue to explore partnering with Carrboro with Parks and Rec facilities,” said Jim Ward. “People in Carrboro use our facilities and vice versa. We need to get through the hurdles that keep us from being more fully integrated with each other.

Donna Bell suggested offering naming opportunities on town facilities as a way to raise money.

“There was discussion if we could use that sort of model for some of the facility-building we want to do around Chapel Hill, especially around sporting events or outdoor facilities,” said Bell.

The council also took public comment on a plan to expand the town’s greenways, with an eye to creating alternate transportation corridors.

Jason Merril, owner of Back Alley Bikes, told the council that great greenways are part of what makes Chapel Hill special.

“One of the things that I love about living in Chapel Hill is that what a lot of people would consider recreation- being active and being outside- is integrated into my daily life, by design,” said Merril.

Both the Parks and Greenway recommendations will return to the council in April once staff has developed long-term funding plans.

http://chapelboro.com/news/chapel-hill-town-council-ponders-funding-for-park-plan