April 2012 Highlights

Veterans' housing, public infrastructure updates, and other news items are in my report this month.


Homeless veterans' helping facility opens:   With support from the City of Winston-Salem, the federal Departments of Housing and of Veterans' Affairs, and multiple private sponsors, a new facility to help homeless veterans officially opened on North Glenn Avenue in Winston-Salem in April. Veterans Helping Veterans Heal will operate the facility with beds and other supportive help for 30 homeless veterans. The Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness has been working for some time to help this project progress through completion.


Atwood neighborhood street repaving:   At our April 16 meeting, the city council approved our primary street repaving contract for the coming fiscal year. Of note to one of my Southwest Ward neighborhoods, the FY 2012-13 resurfacing list includes several streets in the Atwood area which have been in serious need of repaving: Inca Lane, Hondo Drive, Laguna Avenue, Navajo Avenue, and Scioto Street.


Improvements completed in Salem Woods, Ardmore:   Speaking of city infrastructure improvements in the Southwest Ward, I note recent completions of particular note to two other neighborhoods. First, in the Salem Woods neighborhood, I'm pleased that the Foxcroft Drive sidewalk has been built.

In addition, in Ardmore the Ebert Street sidewalk between Cherokee and Hawthorne is now complete. The long-delayed final repaving of Lockland Avenue through the traffic calming project area is also finally completed. (For those who are wondering what other repaving will be done in the area of the utility lines renovation work, I expect the Streets Department to do a comprehensive review of those streets' conditions this summer. I'll report back when that evaluation is done.)


Bond referendum postponed:   As I projected in my report last month, the city council in April considered postponement of a bond issue referendum for needed public infrastructure improvements. After extended discussion, the council voted 4 to 3 on April 23 to postpone any referendum until after 2012. I disagreed with that decision. I believe that postponing needed city investments in transportation, economic development, and public safety projects will worsen our revenue prospects and not help our local economy. However, a majority of my council colleagues concluded that city voters would look unfavorably at those investments if asked to vote on the question this year.


Amendment one debate:   At the same April 23 meeting, council members voted 6 to 0 to discuss at our May 7 meeting a resolution expressing concerns about the effects of proposed N.C. constitutional Amendment One. I consistently oppose using the city council to debate resolutions concerning policies outside the city's control and which do not directly impact city business. If the resolution regarding Amendment One had dealt with the pros and cons of same-sex marriage, I would have opposed its consideration. However, the resolution expresses concern with the potential impacts of Amendment One on enforcement of domestic violence protections for unmarried victims; the potential loss of local government health insurance coverage for households not headed by a married couple; and potential adverse effects on city economic development recruitment efforts, if Amendment One is interpreted as interfering with the right of private companies to offer family benefits coverage for the households of employees whose marriages and civil unions are recognized in other states but not in North Carolina. The city council is scheduled to consider on May 7 the resolution urging voters to study and consider those concerns prior to voting on Amendment One on May 8.


Legacy Plan update:   The update of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County's Legacy development guide is ready for its final round of public reviews before it is considered by the Planning Board. Seven public meetings will be held from May 3 through May 24. Get places and times for these meetings, plus links to each chapter of the draft Legacy 2030 Update here: www.legacy2030.com.  


Law enforcement memorial month:   Each year, May is a time of memorial activities honoring police and other law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty to protect our communities. Local activities kicked off early this year with the Forsyth County Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation 5k run on April 28. They will continue on May 8 with the annual memorial service for fallen local officers. For more information, see the FCLEMF website here: www.fclemf.org.  


Historic Preservation Month:   May is Historic Preservation Month in Winston-Salem. For a schedule of events and related information, check here: http://www.cityofws.org/Home/Departments/Planning/HistoricResourcesCommission/Articles/HistoricPreservationMonth  


Ardmore Home & Garden Tour:   Finally this month, for my Ardmore neighbors and other interested citizens, I pass on the link for more information about the Ardmore Neighborhood Association's 2012 Home & Garden Tour on May 5: www.ardmore.ws.   I am always happy to help publicize the public events of active neighborhood associations within the Southwest Ward.


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