February closed with a major windstorm that left much of the Southwest Ward dealing with fallen trees, utilities damages, and power recovery for days. In the process of helping with neighborhood communications during that time, my usual monthly update was delayed.
Windstorm and recovery: A bad windstorm swept through much of North Carolina, including Winston-Salem, during the last week of February. In the storm’s wake, downed trees, utility poles, and power lines left tens of thousands without power around the state, including thousands in Winston-Salem. Some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods here were in the Southwest Ward. I spent several days in contact with city crews and Duke Energy staff, answering neighbor questions and providing updates on when restoration work was being done and various city services provided.
Police District 3 station groundbreaking: The official groundbreaking event for the new police patrol district 3 station was held February 25 at its site near the intersection of South Stratford Road and Somerset Drive in the Southwest Ward. I was really pleased with the enthusiastic response and turnout from nearby neighborhoods for the event. The station’s location will provide strong support for community-oriented policing in our quadrant of Winston-Salem. Groundbreakings had been previously held for the new stations under construction in patrol districts 1 and 2. The three district police stations (and renovation of the central police station) were projects authorized as part of the public safety bonds approved by voters in November 2014.
Greenways update—downtown rail-trail: In February the city council approved the construction contract for the first phase of the new rail-trail that will extend through the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, and ultimately make important cycling and pedestrian connections to the north and south. Phase one will create the trail along the unused railroad right of way between Third Street and Martin Luther King Drive. Future phases are planned to take the trail north to 25th Street and south to the Salem Creek Greenway for an important north-south link. The largest share of funding for this project comes from federal transportation funding allocated through the NC Department of Transportation.
Anticipating the question I always get about rail-trails: No, we cannot do the same thing with the tracks along Stratford Road. Those tracks are owned by the Norfolk-Southern Railway and are part of long-range plans for restoring more rail service to our area. There are other planned greenway expansions that will extend directly into the Southwest Ward.
Quarry Park groundbreaking: On February 26, we held the groundbreaking event for the new Quarry Park in southeastern Winston-Salem. This new park will feature spectacular views across the water-filled old Vulcan Quarry and beyond, as well as picnic areas and hiking trails, and the completion of the Waughtown Greenway connecting the Waughtown neighborhood to the Salem Creek Greenway system. This project was also approved as part of the 2014 municipal bond referendum.
Cloverdale Apartments/Ardmore Terrace update: In February, I was able to announce the draft outline of a potential compromise with the apartment owners over the future of Cloverdale Apartments and Ardmore Terrace. I sent this update out directly to my email list of interested apartment and neighborhood residents, and I have posted that update here: http://www.danbesse.org/Issues/CurrentTopic1.aspx
As I note in the update, this is a draft outline only. Many details remain to be worked out. There will be public review and comment meetings held. Final approval of any rezoning will include a public comment process and require approval by the Planning Board and/or the City Council.
Southwest Area Plan Update meetings conclude: The public review and comment gathering process for the Southwest Area Plan Update concluded this month. There was a good turnout of interested residents at the several public meetings from December through February. The public input is being worked into the updated plan, and will be part of what is considered this spring by the Planning Board and City Council.
More details on this area plan update can be found here: http://www.cityofws.org/Departments/Planning/Area-Plans/Southwest
That’s my report for February. As always, you are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions. Thanks!