Carrboro Town Leaders Ready for First Meeting of 2015

The Board of Alderman is setting up for a very busy 2015 with their first meeting of the new year, on Tuesday night. There are several large agenda items for leaders of the Town of Carrboro.

Mayor Lydia Lavelle says she is expecting to see new developments concerning the Martin Luther King Jr. Park Master Plan.

“I do think citizens that are interested in the Martin Luther King Jr. Park will be interested in seeing what kinds of proposals are being made,” she says. “A couple of concept designs are going to be coming forward to us, after some community gatherings where we received a lot of input.”

The board will also be presented with information regarding the state of the transit system and suggestions to increase sustainability going forward.

“Every year [the transit system] is a huge project to grapple our hands around,” she says. “It’s one of the hallmarks of our community, but it is one that continues to increase in costs.”

The presentation is expected to be very similar to the arrangement brought before the Chapel Hill Town Council, last week.

The transit system is a large budget item, according to Mayor Lavelle, but she says there are several other key areas in building a new budget this year.

She says certain town costs are guaranteed to increase.

“We always have rising health care costs,” she says. “It’s always a given that, whatever our line item is for our employees and health care, that’s always going to go up a little.”

Lavelle says it will be important to see how much revenue the town is able to bring in during tax collection.

“In general, property taxes have stayed the same or gotten better,” she says. “With the hotel and different things, our commercial tax base should look pretty good.”

The mayor adds town leaders typically offer a conservative sales tax estimate, which could lead to additional revenue on top of projections.

The Board of Alderman meeting will be held at the Carrboro Town Hall beginning at 7:30 Tuesday evening and is open to the public.

Commissioners To Update Orange County’s Park Plan

County Commissioners will consider adopting the 2013 Master Parks Plan when the board meets on Tuesday.

This will be the first major update of the County’s parks and recreation plan since 1988.

The plan lists the $2.3 million dollar Blackwood Farm Park outside of Hillsborough as a top priority, along with River Park and a new $6 million dollar athletic facility on Millhouse Road north of Chapel Hill.

The board will also likely authorize the transfer of ownership of the new Buckhorn-Mebane water and sewer utility infrastructure to the City of Mebane.

The project was completed this fall using $5.1 million in revenue from the county’s quarter-cent sales tax to support economic development. It will bring water and sewer service to the Buckhorn-Mebane economic development district, where Japanese candy-maker Morinaga is building its first American factory.

The City of Mebane will provide sewer and water service to the area.

County Commissioners meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road. You can get the full agenda here.

Carrboro Aldermen To Update MLK Park Plan

CARRBORO- Carrboro leaders say its time to update plans for a town park that’s been in the works for more than a decade.

The Board of Aldermen approved the purchase of land at 1120 Hillsborough Road in 1999 and endorsed a master plan for the Martin Luther King Jr. Park back in 2004, but in all those years, there’s never been money available to make that plan a reality.

Anita Jones-McNair directs the town’s Recreation and Parks Department. She told the Aldermen on Tuesday so much time has passed that town needs have changed.

“Ten years is a pretty long time to sit on a plan,” said Jones-McNair. “We’ve had lots of different changes, lots of different requests for all kinds of space that at this time we don’t have any real development for.”

The current plan for the 10 acre park includes a playground, athletic fields, ping pong tables and a sculpture garden, but it does not include the community garden that’s been growing on the site since 2007.

Board members agreed it’s important to incorporate that into the revised park plan. Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell suggested it might also be a chance for the town to consider new recreational options.

“Many of our parks miss the opportunity to address the interests and needs of children older than eight years old, and that was one of the things I thought was really cool about the pump parks,” said Haven-O’Donnell.

Town staffers are looking to hire a consultant to revise the plan based on feedback from residents and elected officials. The Martin Luther King Jr. park is slated for development in 2016.

CH Parks and Rec Sign Up; Ransom Street Sidewalks; Labor Day

CHAPEL HILL – Your Chapel HillParks and Recreation department’s fall programs sign-ups for residents begins September 3 at 8:30 a.m.  For non-residents the sign-up date is September 16.

To register for the fall programs you can either go online with WebTrac by visiting the town of Chapel Hill’s website or in person at the following four locations: Parks and Recreation Administrative Office, Chapel HillCommunity center, HargravesCommunity center, and the Homestead aquatic center.

You can find a link to the sign-up page by clikcing here.


Sidewalk improvements on Ransom Street are scheduled to begin on August 28 weather permitting.  This project will take approximately ten business days to complete.


On September 2 most of the municipal offices will be closed in observance of Labor Day.  There will be no residential or commercial refuse collection; the Monday route will be picked up on Wednesday.

Many offices will be closed including: Chapel Hill community center, Parks and Recreation office, and the Offices of Maintenance Division.

The Public Library will be open from 1p.m to 5p.m

The Landfill and solid waste convenience centers will be closed.

And Chapel Hill transit will not operate.

For more information on town holidays click here.

Chapel Hill Leaders OK Veterans Memorial Concept Plan

CHAPEL HILL- The Chapel Hill Town Council endorsed a plan to build a veterans memorial at the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery, but council members say they want more details on how the site will be maintained.

Rusty Edminster grew up in Chapel Hill and remembers when Chapel Hill High used to be on Franklin Street. Like many in his class of 1962, he was called to serve in the Vietnam War. On Monday he asked the Town Council to approve a proposal from a group of his fellow veterans to honor all of Chapel Hill’s military service members.

“I urge you to approve this memorial, because it’s a permanent way for the Town of Chapel Hill to say thank you for the time that veterans and their families sacrifice for the service of not only this community but also the United States,” said Edminster.

A committee of veterans has been working since 2009 to site and design a veteran’s memorial in Chapel Hill. The council on Monday unanimously approved an initial proposal to locate the memorial in the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery off of Fordham Boulevard.

The proposal would transform an existing brick plaza into a tree-lined, stone-paved courtyard with five monuments, each representing a branch of the U.S. Military.

The project will be funded by private contributions. But although support for the plan ran high, many on the council said they wanted more details about the cost of maintaining the memorial, which will be located on town-owned property.

Parks and Recreation Director Butch Kisiah told the council organizers are hoping to raise enough money to cover long-term maintenance.

“One of the ideas with the fundraising is to not only raise enough money to build the memorial, but to have a maintenance fund that would go with it,” said Kisiah. “Right now we’re looking at around $300,000 to make all of this work.”

Matt Czajkowski, the only veteran currently serving on the council, said he’d like to see the town chip in as well.

“If the Town of Chapel Hill can’t at least contribute to the maintenance of this beautiful memorial, then I think that’s shameful,” said Czajkowski. “Surely we can find a little bit of money at least to participate in contributing to the maintenance of this.”

The council voted unanimously to endorse the plan, paving the way for a fundraising campaign led by former council member Jim Merritt and UNC’s Associate Vice Chancellor Bruce Runberg.

Click here to find out more about plans for the Chapel Hill Veterans Memorial.