October 2014 Highlights

Now through this Tuesday November 4, Winston-Salem citizens are deciding whether to approve five key investment packages in our city's future.

City capital projects bond referendum:    Early voting on the city capital needs bonds referendum began October 23 and will conclude this Saturday, November 1, at 1 p.m. If you don't early vote, then please go to your regular precinct and vote on Tuesday, November 4. I personally recommend voting in support of all five bond packages.

The bonds appear on the ballot in five separate categories, each of which is voted on independently: about $42 million for streets and sidewalks, $31 million for public safety (police and fire) facilities, $31 million for parks and recreation, $10 million for housing and neighborhood work, and $25 million for economic development. (These are all capital investments like buildings, streets, and other construction or renovation, not staff salaries or other operating expenses.) The proposed bonds total a little more than $139 million. More details on the proposed bonds can be found here: http://www.cityofws.org/departments/budget/2014-bonds

Part of the Public Safety bonds package is designated for the establishment of three district police stations, including one in the southwestern area of the city. The review of potential sites for that station is going on now, looking at the Jonestown Road/Hanes Mall Boulevard area.

Parks in the Southwest Ward designated for bond-funded renovation and improvement include Miller Park and Little Creek Park. Priority greenway projects include the westward extension of Salem Creek Greenway.

Some of the bond investment categories represent lump sums subject to final division by the city council. For example, the Streets and Sidewalks bond category includes $15 million for street repaving and $10 million for sidewalk construction. In order to be as transparent as possible to public scrutiny of what the bonds would be used for, the city council gave preliminary approval to specific project lists in each of those areas.

Southwest Ward streets on the proposed bond-funded repaving list include Arlington and Old Vineyard in the Burke Park neighborhood; Atwood, Birchway, Bridgeport, Springhaven and others in the Atwood area; Lockwood, Huntington Woods, and Somerset in the Jonestown Road area; Hannaford Drive; Griffith Road; Creekway; Birchwood, Blackwood, Ashwood, and Elderwood in Knollwood Manor; and several others.

Southwest Ward streets on the proposed bond-funded sidewalk construction list include Griffith Road; Southwin Drive; Atwood Road; Old Vineyard Road; Flintfield Drive; Arlington Drive and Emory Drive in Burke Park; a section of Silas Creek Parkway; and parts of Cherokee, Ebert, Fenimore and others in Ardmore. I will continue to seek constituent feedback on the sidewalk priorities. While some projects are clear pedestrian safety priority needs, some were close to the funding cutoff line and could give way to others that fell just short, depending on neighborhood response.

One other election-related note: There are multiple important judicial contests on this election's ballot. Information on these non-partisan contests can be scarce or partisan, or particularly slanted in attack ads by special interest groups. As an attorney, I try to closely follow the judicial contests, and have recommendations in most of them based on the candidates' experience, qualifications, and judicial temperament. Anyone who wants my personal recommendations in the judicial contests is welcome to email me at danbesse@danbesse.org.


Leaf collection routes begin November 3:   Leaf collection routes will begin Monday, November 3, in the northern quadrant (quadrant 4) of the city first this year. The collections will proceed clockwise to pass through each quadrant three times. The Southwest Ward is located in quadrant 2, which has an estimated start date of November 15 for our first round of this year's leaf collections. Once collections start, you can check the city website for the best current estimate of when your neighborhood will be reached. Estimated collection dates may be revised frequently based on weather and leaf volumes, so don't wait until the last minute. The city has added new equipment and extra crews this year, meaning the collections process should go more smoothly than previously. To avoid having your leaves missed during a round, please remember to keep all sticks and other debris out of the leaf piles. Be sure that your cars are not parked on or in front of leaves any day that collection may take place. Place leaves behind the curb and do not block sidewalks or travel lanes.

Leaf collection map overview: http://www4.cityofws.org/Cows_ServiceFinder/LeafCollection.aspx

Leaf collection information overview: http://www.cityofws.org/departments/sanitation/collections/leaf-route


Ardmore area utilities-damaged streets work continues:   The repaving of street blocks in the Ardmore area which were damaged by the utilities renovation project continues the week of November 3. Several streets are being worked on as of this writing, so I don't yet know what will remain for next week. I will post any new information over the weekend on the neighborhood listserve and facebook page.


Little Creek Greenway update:   The construction of the Little Creek Greenway (phase 1) is nearing completion. Work has been extended by changes to the causeway carrying the main greenway crossing over Little Creek itself. I will announce a ribbon-cutting celebration for Salem Woods and Atwood neighborhoods this fall as soon as we have the final completion date.


Other October notes:

--Domestic Violence Awareness Month: October has been Domestic Violence Awareness Month. At some cost in blister formation, I took part in the "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event on October 11, sponsored by Family Services to raise funds and awareness for domestic violence prevention and victim assistance efforts.

--Ardmore RAH (Run Against Hunger): I had the starter duties for this annual running event in the Ardmore neighborhood on October 25. Thanks to all the sponsors (including main organizer Redeemer Presbyterian) and runners, it raised $15,000 to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.


Happy Halloween! Stay safe and have a fun family holiday.


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