January 2015 Highlights

January 31, 2014

Southwest Ward Council Member Dan Besse

Ph. 722-1674;  Email:  danbesse@danbesse.org

January saw continued progress on implementing voter-approved bond project priorities.  First, here’s a reminder about public meetings on the Southwest Suburban Area Plan Update.

Southwest Suburban Area Plan Update public meetings:     The next public input meeting for the Southwest Suburban Area Plan Update will take place this Tuesday, February 3, starting at 6 p.m., at Little Creek Recreation Center (610 Foxcroft Drive).  There was an excellent citizen turnout for the January meeting, and I’m hoping to see good participation again this week.  Small area plans are designed to provide a clear picture of the state of our community and development in that area, make recommendations for future development, and offer analysis of the public facilities and resources that will be needed to serve those neighborhoods in the future.  After February 3, there is one more scheduled public input meeting on March 3.  These meetings are open to all interested residents.

Bond project implementation a priority for 2015:     A top priority for our city work during 2015 will be implementing work authorized by the voters through last fall’s city bond referendum.  I’ll be reporting regularly on progress.  Here are some notes from January:

--Union Cross Business Park:  One of the priority uses of the approved Economic Development bond funding will be infrastructure facilitating new industrial recruitment.  An identified need for doing that in Winston-Salem is suitable turnkey-ready space for larger operations.  In January, the city council approved using a combination of funds from the bonds and from the Dell repayment fund to add road infrastructure and a new industrial building at the Union Cross Business Park.  The road investment will be matched by money from the existing business park occupants.  The new building costs will be a loan to the business park authority, to be repaid when the building is sold for a new occupant.  The market for space at this park is currently very strong. 

--Major city park improvements design contracts:  The city council in January also approved design contracts for four major city parks, using bond funding.  These involve major facility improvement work at Salem Lake, Winston Lake, and Jamison parks, as well as phase one of the new Quarry Park (and associated Waughtown Greenway).  (Note to Southwest Ward residents:  Planning is underway for improvements at Miller Park, Bolton Park, and Little Creek Park; more developments are forthcoming later.)

--District police stations:  Site negotiations are still underway for the Northern and Western/Southwestern district police stations. 

--Streets and sidewalks:  Top priorities were discussed during the bond campaign—street resurfacing work will begin this spring.  Sidewalk engineering studies will be getting underway soon.

Duke tree trimming:     I’ve learned that Duke Energy’s rotating schedule of tree trimming to maintain power line safety is never welcomed by the neighborhoods visited.  The fact that trimming is necessary for safety does not change the fact that the resulting changes in tree appearance are often jarring.  There is often a difference of opinion between residents and Duke’s staff and contractor (Asplundh) about how the trimming should be done.  In order to get questions answered in advance, representatives of Duke, and of the city’s tree maintenance staff, are starting to hold public Q&A sessions prior to trimming in a neighborhood.  One such meeting was held in January for the West End, and a meeting is to be set up during February for Ardmore residents.  The streets which will be affected by the trimming in Ardmore this year are Academy (Hawthorne to Anson), Anson, Brent (Elizabeth to Queen), Elizabeth (Irving to Sunset), Lockland (Elizabeth to Hawthorne), Queen (Brent to Corona), Sunset, and the entire street-front perimeter of Miller Park.  The time and place have not been finalized yet, but I will send a notice when they have been.

Fire and emergency response educational opportunities:       There are new opportunities for interest citizens to learn about fire and emergency response:

--Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training:  Up to 25 interested residents can sign up for a free training for those who want to participate in a volunteer citizen CERT team responding to community disasters.  The training will last three days, February 27—March 1. There are a few spots left as of 1/31, and registration closes 2/9.  For more information and to register, go to http://www.readyforsyth.org/basic-cert-training-in-winston-salem/  

--Fire Department community education programs:  The Winston-Salem Fire Department (WSFD) is offering educational presentations on fire safety practices, as well as fire station tours.  Have an interested youth or community group?  Call the WSFD’s Community Education office at 773-7965, or go to http://www.cityofws.org/departments/fire/public-education


New State Senate representation:    The Southwest Ward includes part of both State Senate districts in Forsyth County.  The part of our ward located in State Senate District 32 now has a new representative, Senator Paul Lowe.  Sen. Lowe is the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church and has served as the chair of the 5th U.S. Congressional District for the Democratic Party.  He takes the place of former Sen. Earline Parmon, who resigned to become the 12th U.S. Congressional District Liaison for new U.S. Rep. Alma Adams.  As prescribed by N.C. law for filling state legislative vacancies created by resignation during a term, Rev. Lowe was nominated by the Forsyth County Democratic Party Executive Committee, and appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory, last week.  I have worked with Paul for several years and believe that he will speak well for the people of our county in Raleigh.  The 31st State Senate District is represented by newly elected (as of last fall) Sen. Joyce Krawiec.  She was similarly initially nominated (by the Forsyth County Republican Party Executive Committee) and appointed by Gov. McCrory last year to fill the then-unexpired term of former Sen. Pete Brunstetter.

That’s my report for January.

As always, you are welcome to email me at danbesse@danbesse.org with comments or questions.  Thanks!