April 2017 Highlights

In April, we approved funding for resurfacing the streets impacted by the latest round of water/sewer lines renovation.  We also have a new facility ribbon-cutting coming up May 5 in Little Creek Park. 

Utility work-damaged Ardmore streets repaving approved:     The contract for repaving work to repair utilities-damaged streets in the Ardmore sub-basin #1 received final approval this month, and the work will begin in May.  If you live on one of the streets affected by this work, please keep an eye out for the notices of when work will be done on your street block.  Anyone who may be out of town for a few days during this time should make sure that your car is not left on the street without someone present who will get the notice and can move it.  Streets with blocks covered by the upcoming resurfacing work include Ainsworth, Belview, Collingwood, Fairway, Ford, Hawthorne, Hoyt, Jefferson, Lyndhurst, Magnolia, Maplewood, Melrose, Parkway, Walker, and Westover.  All the repaving work in this contract should be finished this summer.

For those who don’t live in or drive through the affected area, you may wonder, why is this a separate repaving contract?  Here’s the summary:  In March, crews finished the latest major phase of the ongoing overhaul of some of the oldest water and sewer lines in Winston-Salem.  As is frequently the case after such major utility lines work, there was a lot of deterioration in the condition of many impacted blocks’ street surface, even after patching was done.  Under city policy, that made the resurfacing of those street blocks eligible to be done with Utilities Department funds (from water/sewer fees) rather than having to compete with other streets for the limited general fund repaving budget.   After the utilities renovation work was completed, city staff had to evaluate the streets and calculate the total repaving cost for the damaged blocks.  Funding approval was then obtained in April from the Utilities Commission and city council, and the contract for that work approved. 

Little Creek Park sprayground ribbon-cutting:     I’m very pleased to announce that the official ribbon-cutting event for the sprayground water splash play area at Little Creek Park will be this Friday, May 5, at 3 p.m.  Residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and other interested members of the public are invited and welcome to attend.  This great new amenity for families in our part of the city is just one of several such spraygrounds that are opening this year in parks around our city in time for the warm weather.  (These projects have been funded thanks to city voters’ approval of the recreation and parks bonds in 2014!)

Pedestrian and cycling notes:     The city council in April also approved two other actions of interest to local cyclists and greenway fans.  We approved addition of a new parking area and trailhead to the Robinhood Road entrance to the popular Muddy Creek Greenway.  We also authorized the National Cycling Center (located here in Winston-Salem) to implement and manage a pilot bike share program, with 50 bikes spread across 10 stations around Winston-Salem.  The initial stations are expected to cover downtown and strategic points across the Salem Creek/Strollway/Salem Lake/Quarry Park greenway network.  Phase 2 of the project is expected to expand north, east, south, and west.  This bike share program will be privately funded.  City participation is limited to providing (but not funding) some of the locations for the bike-share stations.

Youth Citizens’ Police Academy:     The Winston-Salem Police Department is now accepting applications for the Youth Citizens’ Police Academy.  This free program is designed for young men and women, age 16 or older, who are interested in learning about the WSPD or a career in law enforcement.  Topics will include criminal investigations, forensic services, SWAT demonstration, canine demonstration, the firearms training simulator, and more.  It will be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 26-30, here in Winston-Salem.  The application deadline is May 30.  For more information, contact Officer Claudia Morgan at 336-408-8126 or via email at cmorgan@wspd.org.   Information is also available at http://www.cityofws.org/Departments/Police/News/ID/20238/Police-Accepting-Applications-for-Youth-Citizens-Police-Academy 

WFU/BMC hospital zoning case:     The city council will hear the WFU/BMC zoning request this Monday night, May 1.  This is the request to rezone from commercial to “campus” use the old commercial area bordered by Miller Street, Cloverdale Avenue, and Medical Center Boulevard.  This zoning case does NOT include any of the residential property on Queen Street, which will remain residential only.  Conditions will be attached to the rezoning which should ensure that it does not adversely affected the neighborhood.  These conditions include retaining and improving the wooded buffer area between the homes on Queen Street and the rezoned area, as well as other conditions designed to address streetscape, pedestrian, traffic, and noise questions.  Another condition prevents any expansion of offsite “incidental” uses which might otherwise have come with the zoning change.  The Ardmore Neighborhood Association has been briefed on the rezoning request and has not objected. 

May is Historic Preservation Month:     Historic Preservation Month events will begin May 2 in Winston-Salem and continue throughout the month with historic walks, talks, tours and open houses throughout Forsyth County.  Check out all the events and details here:  www.cityofws.org/HRC

Welcoming City:      In the face of threats from some legislators to retaliate against the city for passage of the proposed “Welcoming City” resolution, it has been re-drafted as a joint statement for elected and other community leaders, including but not limited to supportive members of the city council.  Just as the resolution said, the joint statement reaffirms that Winston-Salem is a welcoming community for immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers.  This Welcoming City affirmation effort comes in response to the current nationwide debate over treatment of immigrants and refugees.  I believe that it is important to our community to reaffirm that we are a diverse society built by immigrants from many lands, and that we respect and protect all our citizens and residents regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.  In Winston-Salem, we also have a proud tradition of welcoming refugees from war and hardship abroad to a new home of safety and community in our city.  Our joint statement will reaffirm our community support for this tradition as well.  In addition to elected officials, our joint statement is being signed by a broad array of local faith community leaders.  I will post the full statement on my website, www.danbesse.org.

     This “Welcoming City” affirmation is not the same as a so-called “sanctuary city” ordinance.  It does not include or call for the violation of any federal or state law.  It includes no action that would subject our community to federal or state financial penalties of any kind.

     Supporters of the Welcoming City reaffirmation will release our joint statement in a public event on Monday, May 1, at 5:30 p.m. in front of City Hall at 101 N. Main Street, Winston-Salem.  Supportive residents of Winston-Salem are invited and welcome to attend.

 

That’s my report for April.  As always, you are welcome to email me at danbesse@danbesse.org with comments or questions.  Thanks!

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