Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2011 Environmental Awards

The City of Raleigh is now accepting nominations from the public for the 2011 Environmental Awards. The Awards Ceremony will be held April 21, and the deadline for nominations is January 19.

This year, awards will be given in the following twelve categories.
  • The Raleigh Environmental Stewardship Award is an overall award for an individual or organization that has shown leadership in sustainable development.

  • Environmental Awareness in Leadership or Teaching awards demonstrated leadership or teaching about the environment.

  • The Legacy Award recognizes a lifelong contribution to the environment by a person or organization.

  • The Natural Resource Conservation Award recognizes a substantial conservation effort of our water, wastewater, reuse water, residuals and biosolids, air quality, or stormwater.

  • The Green Design Award recognizes sustainably built structures, and green innovation in design and construction.

  • The Regional Award recognizes air quality improvements in surrounding areas.

  • Pioneering Efforts are recognized in any environmental area.

  • The Market Transformation Award is given to manufacturers, retailers, or marketers who promote products, services, and choices that lessen the impact on the environment and health.

  • The Urban Stewardship Award recognizes an individual that volunteers in a community to lead sustainable programs.

  • The Water Efficient Landscaping Award is a first-time award that will be given to recognize a project or organization for water conservation or truly efficient landscaping.

  • The Institutional Innovation Award will honor a government entity that has been innovative in environmental stewardship.

  • Several of our communities youth are also recognized for their efforts in environmental stewardship.

Nomination forms and more information about the 2011 Environmental Awards are available here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Moore Square's Future

On December 16, the site model for the Preliminary Draft Master Plan for Moore Square will be released! At 5:00 on December 16, at Chavis Community Center, Chris Counts and City Staff will be on hand to unveil the preliminary plan. Chris Counts, of Christopher Counts Studio, was the winner of the Moore Square Redesign Competition. He was done a great job of working with City Staff and gathering public input to form his design. After the site plan is released, there will be a question and answer session.

The feedback from the event will be used to put together the Moore Square Draft Master Plan and Report, to be released in early January.

Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Two Great Workshops Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, there are two great workshops being held. The first is being hosted by the Arts Commission. The workshop is aimed at non-profit organizations that are interested in applying for a 2011-2012 arts grant from the City. The workshop will review grant guidelines, application process, and the legal and financial requirements of grant recipients.

We have a great system with our Arts Grants Programs, and since 1989, more than $19 million has been distributed to qualifying organizations! The workshop will be held on December 2, from 8:30am to 1:00pm at the Urban Design Center, located at 133 Fayetteville Street. For more information about the workshop, and the Arts Commission, please click here.

The second workshop will focus on the future of New Bern Avenue. Since New Bern Avenue is one of Raleigh's most heavily used corridors, and the workshop will focus on the portion between Swain Street and Wake Medical Center. Discussion will center on ways to improve New Bern Avenue, specifically through support of pedestrian, bicycle, and transit use along the corridor, and economic development in the area.

The workshop will be held from 7:00 to 9:00pm at Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church, located at 1950 New Bern Avenue. For more information, please click here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Yesterday, the City unveiled our first two electric vehicle charging stations! These two stations are both downtown, located across from the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex. During the next several months, you will begin to see more and more charging stations popping up. There are plans for a total of thirty stations to be installed throughout the City by next September! State and Federal Grants cover the complete costs of the stations.

Raleigh was selected to receive the grants because of our participation in Project Get Ready. We are one of three cities in the nation that is a part of the initiative to encourage the use of electric pug-in vehicles. Raleigh was declared to be one of just fourteen major cities that is "leading in rediness for plug-in electric vehicles." The other two cities are Portland, Oregon and Indianapolis, Indiana.

I am looking forward to seeing more and more plug-in stations and vehicles in Raleigh!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plans for a New Fire Station

Next year, Raleigh will have our 29th Fire Station! Council recently voted to approve the plan, design, and construction of the new fire station. The new fire station will be located near the Harrington Grove Subdivision on Leesville Road. Our firefighters do a tremendous job and we are thrilled to welcome them to a new home in Northwest Raleigh!

Friday, November 12, 2010

America Recycles Day

This Saturday is America Recycles Day! There will be a festival to celebrate recycling at the Shops at Seaboard Station from 10am-2pm. It is a great one-stop opportunity to learn more about recycling, composting, and conservation. There will be activities for the kids and live music also!

If you would like to bring recyclables with you, accepted items include electronics, paints and pesticides, plastic bags, glass jars and bottles, rigid plastics, household items, and CFL lightbulbs.

This is a great opportunity for kids to learn more about recycling and conservation! Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NCDOT Asks for Your Help!

The State's Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is holding a series of listening sessions to develop its next step in their strategic planning process. The listening sessions will include DOT planning partners, stakeholders, and the public. It is important that they hear from you on which transportation issues in the area concern you most.

During these sessions, you will find out more about their prioritization process and accomplishments, and to learn more about alternate transportation plans for our area.

The sessions will begin tomorrow morning at the RDU Airport Authority, located at 1000 Trade Drive at 9am.

There will also be a few more sessions throughout the week, located in other areas of the state.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Eastgate Park

Please join Raleigh Parks and Recreation for a Playground Design Day at Eastgate Neighborhood Center on Saturday, November 6 from 10:00-noon. We would love to have input from parents, as well as children, as we renovate Eastgate Playground.

For more information, please contact Wayne Schindler at 996-4844.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This Saturday, October 30, the City will host an all-day public workshop to discuss the future of Capital Boulevard. Capital Boulevard is one of the main veins of Raleigh and it sets an important stage for other thoroughfares of the city.
During the workshop, folks will be organized into small groups and each group will focus on a different topic. The topics will include transportation, water, land use and urban design. This workshop will give everyone a chance to work together to conceptualize the possibilities for the future of Capital Boulevard.
The meeting will take place at The Stockroom at 230, in the historic former Carolina Trust Bank Building, at 230 Fayetteveille Street from 9:00-5:00. If you plan to attend, you can register here, or you can arrive a little early on Saturday. Also, more information on the complete project is available here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

City to Collect Cooking Oil and Grease

Beginning November 1, the City will begin collecting your cooking oil and grease along with the rest of your trash and recycling. All you need to do is place your discarded oil in a sealable, non-glass container and put it out with your other trash and recycling. The goal of this project is to keep grease out of our sewer system and convert it to biofuels instead!

The program will run through January 15. Last year, during the same dates, we were able to collect more than 825 gallons of grease!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Public Meeting for Landscape Improvements

This week, the City is hosting a public meeting for proposed improvements to Newton Road. The meeting will take place at the Marsh Creek Community Center on Tuesday, October 26, from 5:00-7:00. Representatives from the City, as well as design consultants will be available to answer any and all questions and thoroughly discuss the proposed changes. Along with Newton Road, upcoming changes to Sunnybrook Road and Rogers Lane will also be discussed.

The following night, Wednesday the 27th, a similar meeting will take place at Carolina Pines Community Center. Wednesday, the proposed landscaping improvements of Tryon Road and Edwards Mill Extension will be discussed.

Both meetings will have an open house format, and more information is available by calling 996-3030.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Neuse River Solar Farm

Today was another exciting day for sustainability in Raleigh! We broke ground on the new 1.3 megawatt solar farm at the Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The City of Raleigh came together to form a partnership with Southern Energy Management, Progress Energy Carolinas, NxGen Power, and Paragon Commercial Bank in order to bring this project to life.

The solar farm will generate power power that feeds into the Progress Energy grid, and is the seventh of it's kind in the state. Our state is very well positioned to pioneer the shift to clean energy on the east coast, and this project will serve as a model for others in the future.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sustainable Stimulus Projects in Raleigh

Yesterday, I was able to spend some time with our US Congressmen Bob Etheridge, Brad Miller, and David Price. We were able to tour a few projects that were made possible by the ARRA Stimulus Funds that North Carolina was granted last year.

We started the tour at the new Transit Operations Center that is being built on a 23-acre site on Poole Road. More than half of the total cost of the project is covered by ARRA funds, and the facility will be the first of its kind in the nation. The CAT Operations Center will integrate administration and maintenance into one facility, and the facility will also be nominated for LEED Platinum Certification. Some of the sustainable features of the facility include geothermal heating and cooling, reflective roofing and other building materials, sensored light fixtures, a rainwater collection system, and the use of local materials throughout.

After touring the Transit Operations Center, we stopped by the City's Wetlands Center, and then moved on to the Wilder's Grove Solid Waste Services Center. As with the Transit Operations Center, half of the cost of the Solid Waste Services Center is covered by ARRA funds. The Solid Waste Services Center also features geothermal heating and cooling, which is expected to result in a 35-52% energy cost savings! The Solid Waste Services Center is seeking LEED Gold Certification upon completion next Summer.

Our tour concluded at the Upper Neuse Greenway Trail segment at Falls Lake. ARRA funds are being used to complete the Neuse River Trail thru the Johnston County line. All together, the length of the trail is more than 28 miles! Raleigh's greenway system is one of our most treasured projects, it is great to see it keep expanding.

It is great to see Raleigh leading the way for sustainability with our public facilities and projects. I look forward to continuing in the same direction!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Early voting starts today in Wake County! More information is available here!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eat Out for InterAct!

Tomorrow, you all have the opportunity to contribute to a great cause while having a great meal! Tuesday, October 12, Sitti is hosting a fundraiser for InterAct of Wake County. Between 6 and 9pm tomorrow, 10% of the total cost of your meal will go to InterAct.

InterAct is a private, nonprofit United Way agency that provides safety, support, and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic violence and assault. InterAct also promotes violence-free relationships and communities through collaboration, public information, education, and advocacy.

InterAct is the only confidential domestic violence prevention program serving Wake County's twelve municipalities. It is imperative that we all show our support to an organization that does so much to support those in need.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Jenkins Business School

A couple of weeks ago, North Carolina State University opened a new campus for the university's College of Management. Jenkin's Business School received a warm welcome to RTP, and I was honored to be on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

One of the things that helps to make the triangle such a great place to live is the abundance of options our citizens have when pursuing an education. NCSU's College of Management will be able to serve as a catalyst to bring even more commerce into the triangle, and that is something that is exciting for us all!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

25th Annual International Festival of Raleigh

This year will mark the 25th anniversary of Raleigh's International Festival! The International Festival is consistentently one of the best attractions of the year in Raleigh. My family and I have enjoyed going since we moved to Raleigh. People from more than 25 countries come together to showcase bits and peices of their cultures. There is dance, the world bazaar, cooking demonstrations, art projects for the kids, a beer garden, and a naturalization ceremony. This year, more than 250 people will take their oath and gain citizenship to America! I can't think of a better way to kick off the weekend, and hope everyone will have a chance to attend.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hillsborough Street Celebration this Weekend

This weekend, we will be celebrating the recently completed construction on Hillsborough Street! Live It Up! on Hillsborough Street will bring together local business owners, artists, musicians, students, and folks from all over town.

There will be tons of live music, spread across three stages (learn more about the bands and check out the schedule here). There will also be tons of stuff for kids to enjoy: special visitors from the Hurricanes, giant inflatables, rock climbing walls, and hot dog eating contests. The adults will be able to enjoy Whole Foods' Iron Chef Contest and a beer garden!

Most events are free and open to the public, but for a few, tickets must be purchased. Learn more about the celebration and buy tickets here. Hope to see you all on Hillsborough Street this Saturday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


A lot of great things are happening in the Raleigh Arts Community!

I hope that everyone will have a chance to visit SPARKcon this weekend, it will be happening Thursday through Sunday downtown. If you had a chance to check it out last year, you know what an outstanding festival of creativity SPARKcon is! There is plenty to enjoy, and SPARKcon does a great job of highlighting art of all kinds. There are fifteen "sparks" this year: art, bazaar, circus, cyber, dance, design, fashion, film, graffiti, idea, music, poetry, tasty, theatre, and SPARKcon for kids!

Another exciting thing happening at SPARKcon this year will be the kickoff of a new Public Art Campaign! There will be range of events happening at SPARKcon to explore all of the reasons that "public art matters," and the new campaign is entitled "Public Art is a Building Block." The Raleigh Arts Commission has done a fantastic job promoting the arts and engaging the community in art projects and arts awareness over the past several years, we are excited to launch this new program!

There is also some District A arts news I would like to share with you all! Millbrook Exchange Park has become the home to Immigrant Gate II, a sculpture that originally came to Raleigh as part of the 2003-2004 Downtown Raleigh Sculpture Expo. Immigrant Gate II was created in Chicago in 1997, and spent three years touring the midwest. We are excited to have such a great peice of art in District A! Check it out next time you're at Millbrook Exchange Park!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Voting Locations

On September 7, the Wake County Board of Elections voted to relocate seven voting locations. All voters that report to these seven locations will receive new voter identification cards, but I wanted to help spread the word.

Precinct 01-02 has moved from Olds Elementary School on Dixie Trail to Universalist Unitarian Fellowship of Raleigh on Wade Avenue.

Precinct 17-10 has moved from the Apostolic Church of Raleigh on Buffaloe Road to the Raleigh International Church on Capital Boulevard.

Precinct 17-04 has moved from Lockhart Elementary School on N. Smithfield Road to Knightdale United Methodist Church on Forestville Road.

Precinct 13-10 has moved from Raleigh Fire Station #22 on Durant Road to Bedford At Falls River Clubhouse on Bedfordtown Drive.

Precinct 07-13 has moved from Raleigh Fire Station #4 on Northway Court to the North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene on Strickland Road.

Precinct 01-45 has moved from North Haven Church on Six Forks Road to Christ Baptist Church on Newton Road.

Precinct 10-02 has moved from Wendell Elementary School on Wendell Boulevard to Wendell Middle School on Highway 97.

Happy voting everyone! Remember, early voting for the November elections begins on October 14 at the Wake County Board of Elections headquarters. Several other early voting locations will open up the following week. Click here for more information.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Moore Square Master Plan Workshops

The City will be holding two workshops to discuss the master plan for Moore Square. The first workshop will take place this afternoon at 1pm, and the second at 7 this evening. Both workshops will be held at Cobblestone Hall in Historic City Market.

Both workshops will have the same format, include site model discussion, and small group discussion. For more information, please call 996-4797 or visit the City's webpage.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

City Council Meeting

City Council Meeting tonight! We have been away for a few weeks, so our meeting tonight should be busy! I encourage you to come if you can. If not, please remember that you can watch streaming video of the meetings and view the full agenda here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Welcome Center!

Yesterday, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitor's Bureau opened a new Visitor Information Center on City Plaza. Last year, the greater Raleigh area hosted more than 11.5 visitors, and more than 10,000 of them stopped by the Visitor's Center. The new Center is in a perfect location for Raleigh residents and out-of-towners alike.

I encourage everyone to stop in and check it out next time you are downtown!

Monday, August 30, 2010

SEHSR Public Hearing

As many of you know, there has been a lot of conversation in Raleigh surrounding the Southeast High Speed Rail recently. Tomorrow, August 31, the City Council will be holding a public hearing to hear from all of you.

Our Passenger Rail Task Force, along with several of our CACs have done a great job prompting this discussion amongst Citizens, and we have already gotten a great deal of feedback. Please keep it up! I encourage everyone who is able to attend the public hearing tomorrow, this project will have a major impact on the future of our City!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Recycling Bins, Collection Dates

The City has announced new collection dates for the old, green recyclings bins that are being replaced. We encourage Citizens to keep and continue to use them between the new, bi-weekly pickups.

If you would like to return your 18 gallon bin to the City, they will be collected on the following days.

•Sept. 2: SW 22, SW 23, SE 24;
•Sept. 9: NW 22, NW 23, NE 21;
•Sept. 16: NE 27, NE 28 and SE 23;
•Sept. 23: NE 22, SE 14;
•Sept. 30: NW 14, NW 15, and NW 21; and,
•Oct. 7: SW 5 and SW 6

To determine your recycling route number, contact the City of Raleigh Solid Waste Services Department at 996-6890; or visit Find My Service Day on the City's webpage.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Recognizing Raleigh!

Today, Raleigh's Fire Station #6 on Fairview Road, was recognized by the The City of Raleigh, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources for it's success with a project created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The focus of the event were the benefits and simplicity of a cistern system installed at nine Raleigh area fire stations and a Wake County EMS Station and the Willow Springs Fire Station. The project, paid for almost entirely with grants from the federal ARRA and a grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, installed a system of cisterns to harvest rainwater from the roofs of the stations. The cisterns are capable of collecting more than 4,000 gallons of rainwater at each location.

The collected water is stored above ground and used by the firefighters when cleaning equipment or vehicles. At some of the stations, the water is used for irrigation in gardens. The City also installed rain gardens at five of the stations. At the other stations, the water drains to an existing vegetative patch.

The system reduces demand on Raleigh's drinking water supply, promotes water conservation, decreases stormwater runoff, reduces water pollution, and serves as an educational tool for the community on the possibilities of rainwater harvesting. The rainwater collection system is expected to save more than 40,000 gallons of water annually.

The complete list of fire stations using the water conserving cisterns:

•Raleigh Fire Station 6 - 2601 Fairview Road;
•Raleigh Fire Station 8 - 5001 Western Boulevard;
•Raleigh Fire Station 22 - 9350 Durant Road;
•Raleigh Fire Station 23 - 8312 Pinecrest Road;
•Raleigh Fire Station 24 - 10440 Fossil Creek Court;
•Raleigh Fire Station 25 - 2740 Wakefield Crossing;
•Raleigh Fire Station 26 - 3929 Barwell Road;
•Raleigh Fire Station 27 - 5916 Buffaloe Road;
•Raleigh Fire Station 28 - 3500 Forestville Road;
•Wake County EMS Station 8 - 1361 Varsity Drive; and,
•Willow Springs Fire Station - 2474 Bud Lipscomb Road, Willow Springs

Friday, August 13, 2010

Community Outreach Day

Saturday, August 14th, The Give Back Organization will host the 5th Annual Community Outreach Day. The event will be held at the corner of Raleigh Boulevard and Glascock Streets.

Community Outreach Day provides a great platform to showcase all of the resources available to Raleigh's citizens, and it is a great way to introduce new folks to our community. In the past, this event has helped hundreds of families start the school year off right by providing bookbags and school supplies.

This year, WakeMed will provide free diabetes, blood pressure, and cholestorol testing. There will also be a car show and raffle. The RPD and the RFD will also be there to lend their support! I encourage you all to attend if you are able. We are thrilled to have The Give Back Organization hosting this event for the fifth year in a row!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Creedmoor Road Study, Public Workshop

This week, there will be a three night public workshop to discuss the future of Highway 50, Creedmoor Road. As some of you may already know, there has been an impact study taking place since January that is due to be complete in December. A team has been put together to look into the effects of widening Highway 50 to four lanes. Commuting traffic from Granville County and the town of Creedmoor is, and has been, steadily increasing for the last few years. However, Highway 50 drains into Falls Lake, and widening the road would inevitably lead to a more polluted drinking supply for Raleigh.

The discussion about widening Highway 50 began in 2003, and has been a heavily debated topic between Granville and Wake Counties ever since. In the last seven years, the regulations imposed on Falls Lake have certainly become more stringent, but Falls Lake is still considered polluted.

It will be very interesting to begin to publicly discuss what the future holds for Highway 50. I encourage everyone who travels on Creedmoor Road to take part in the discussions this week. The meetings will be held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings at the Shriner's Temple located at 11101 Creedmoor Road. Please click here for more information on the project and to take part in a survey being conducted on the future of Highway 50.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

City Council Meeting Tonight!

Check out the City's new website for the full agenda. The new site looks great and is very user-friendly! Enjoy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

High Speed Rail Public Hearing Tonight!

Tonight, there will be a public hearing to discuss the future of the Southeast High Speed Rail. The discussion will center around the Tier II Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which covers the portion of the corridor between Richmond and Raleigh.

The SEHSR project proposes to implement about 162 miles of high-speed rail to extend the existing Northeast Corridor, which covers Boston to Washington, DC. The new, Southeastern corridor would include approximately 100 new bridges and overpasses that would create a fully separated system to ensure the safety of train passengers and crew, and also motorists and the surrounding communities. The complete project would provide another option of travel from the Northeast through Charlotte. This is a great opportunity for Raleigh to continue to be on the forefront of innovation in transportation!

More information on the Southeast High Speed Rail is available here!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

City Council Meeting

We have City Council Meetings today, with a public hearing tonight. The full agenda is available here.

I hope to see some familiar faces there tonight!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Raleigh Wide Open!

Saturday, July 31 Raleigh Wide Open 5 is being held! This is a great opportunity to bring the entire family out for a day of fun! It will all begin with a parade down Fayettville Street at 11 am, and it will end with fireworks at 11pm. There will be plenty of live music throughout the day, featured on three stages this year, provided by 21 different bands!
More information can be found here. I hope to see everyone there!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bicycle and Pedestrian Map

I wanted to share this new map with everyone - it shows where bicycle lanes and pedestrian friendly corridors are located throughout Raleigh. Please feel free to pass it along, and I hope you will utilize and enjoy our growing bike lanes! Also, the City recently established a Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission to provide guidance and leadership on the incorporation of relevant programs, policies, regulations and funding principles related to walkable and bike friendly streets. Thanks to Chair Steven Waters for his efforts in creating this wonderful new tool for citizens to use.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

City Council Meeting

City Council Meeting Today! The full agenda is available here. Please come out and join the conversation, we would love to hear your input!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!!

Happy Independence Day everyone! I hope that you all are enjoying the holiday weekend. Tonight, the City of Raleigh will have our annual Fourth of July celebration tonight at the State Fairgrounds. The festivities are set to begin at 5:00 and fireworks are scheduled for 9:15. More information is available here.

Hope to see you all there!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Transition Workshop and Focus Group Sessions

This week, the City's Planning Department hosted a series of Community Workshops and Focus Group Sessions to discuss plans for Raleigh's future. As we all know, Raleigh has been one of the fastest growing cities in the country for years and will continue on that path. It is important for us to have a clear vision for the future of our City. The workshops held this week were the first step in crafting that vision.

Two sessions were held at Greystone Community Center, and it was great to see so many District A folks come out to contribute to the discussion! Non-residential development will continue to occur alongside of residential development, and it is importnat for citizens to speak up about what is important to them through that process. We all worked through some activities to identify what specific issues are the most important and some potential ways to meet citizens' expectations.

The results of the Community Transition Workshops will be discussed in greater detail in similar meetings that are scheduled to be held later in the Summer. Please check back in the future to find out more information about the next round of workshops, and please come out and be sure your voice is heard!

Friday, June 18, 2010

More from Fire Operations Day!

Here is a piece that News14 did on Fire Operation Day! Please enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Moving Forward on the Lightner Center

View original post on NewRaleigh blog.

There has been considerable talk recently about the wisdom of keeping the existing Raleigh Municipal Building.

This building has been held high as an example of many things, ranging from a testament to history to a masterful work of art.

I’m not sure that these comments are about the same building that I know, but I would like to address some of the issues associated with the building.

The History

While I agree that Milton Small was a great architect, he was also bound by the constraints of those employing him around 1960.

He completed a number of very handsome modern buildings in Raleigh. However, most agree that this is not one of them. This building is the product of a government that put its’ resources into cheap, utilitarian buildings. The cinder block walls and low ceilings do nothing to foster any kind of nostalgia. And they certainly do not produce the type of environment where anyone would enjoy working.

As for its legacy, let’s look at some of the history associated with this building.

During a recent tour, we noticed how many small bathrooms there are scattered throughout this building.

This is because this building was built during a time when there were separate “colored” bathrooms. That’s not exactly a history that I want to honor.

As we can see from this picture, there is not even a handicapped accessible bathroom in the entire building.

What we can do to preserve the true history of this site is to continue to dedicate this location to the men and women who serve and protect our city every day. We can equipt them with the tools they need to do their jobs well.

Traditionally the core of a city evolves on the footprint of previous development. As each succeeding generation adds new elements, the tapestry of the city grows in complexity and richness. New is not always the best answer and buildings have been lost that should have been retained. This was particularly true in the post World War II era.

As a result, over the past 30 years we have become more aware of the history of our cities and concerned with the preservation of work that is significant for historic or architectural reasons. We need to examine every case carefully. But that does not imply that we should simply save everything because it exists. The vibrancy of a city comes from selectively reinventing portions of the urban environment. Sometimes that means renovation and sometimes it means a new project. We must examine the Municipal Building and its site in the context of downtown Raleigh’s evolution.

The Reality

Nothing in the core of this building meets code - elevators, stairs, bathrooms, ingress/egress, and internal traffic patterns, to name a few. The fire exits are too close and too narrow, and the building is far from handicapped accessible. There is no fresh air intake into the ventilation system. There is asbestos in the flooring, and even the terazzo floors that some have spoken of having value would most likely have to be torn out. The only wood in this building is some wall paneling.
This building has a long list of needs. From just the items that need to be brought to code, we know that the building would have to be gutted, saving only the facade and underlying structure. That’s a pale green project.

Once we are left with the skin of the building, we have a new list of problems.

The walls are solid brick and concrete alternating with windows, presenting a problem when trying to run wires. With the original 1960’s ceilings and light fixtures, we have to run wires through the floors, leading to raised plug and junctions boxes and preventing cubicles.

Some rooms have dropped ceilings to accommodate our new technologies. An 8-foot ceiling that you can touch does not produce a good work environment.

Also, the windows are all single pain glass, and therefore, not energy efficient.

It does not meet any of our current energy efficiency standards.

It is not insulated.

To preserve the skin, it would have to have insulated glass installed from the inside and there is some question as to whether the framing can hold the new glass and insulation.

We have already spent millions of dollars to design a new building which will be greener than anything that can be done to this building.

This is without a doubt the best time to build. Interest rates are down, and construction costs are at an all-time low.

Many projects are currently being built at a 30 percent savings. And let’s not forget the 1800 jobs associated with the construction of this new facility.

We want our police and fire departments to use new technology to protect us and stay ahead of problems that the average citizen would not conceive.

Let’s not ask them to do their job with 1960’s equipment.

The Need

I don’t think anyone would argue that we are not in need of new facilities for our 911 call center and other city employees. Our 911 Emergency Response Center is woefully inadequate and faces serious facility issues. It benefits our public safety officers to be able to work together and to communicate effectively. While the temporary facility on Six Forks Road is adequate for now, it is not a long-term solution. The police must make countless trips downtown to the courthouse and evidence room. As a small business owner, I understand the importance of having your managers available to interact and meet face-to-face. The most efficient and safe situation is for our police chief, fire chief and city manager to be within close proximity.

The facility and resources that we provide our police and fire fighters says volumes about how we value about them as a community.

In the past, comments have been made that this site on Nash Square would be “wasted” if used for city employees.

The key to good public safety is having great people. Telling these 800 public servants that the value of real estate is more important than they are is a poor way to achieve that goal.

There are still adjustments that need to be made to this project. We are currently looking at the possibility of a scaled down structure. Going back to square one is not a fiscally responsible option because the city has already invested millions of dollars in design and development. The longer we delay, the more it continues to cost the city and taxpayer.

The process of undoing all of the work to date, re-evaluating all of the project parameters, including site selection and acquisition, site approvals, and programmatic distribution and building another (or four more) designs is short sighted and fiscally irresponsible.

We have to look at the big picture and make decisions that will be the best for Raleigh today, and 30 years from now. We should not make a short-term decision for the sake of political expediency. Public safety is the core function of the city. It is our biggest responsibility. We need to look to the future, while honoring our past.

Let’s honor the city workers who have given their careers, and even their lives, to keeping the City of Raleigh safe. Officer Paul Hale was killed in the line of duty in front of Ligon Middle School. I went to the county’s memorial for our fallen officers on May 10. I was the only local elected official there that day. I spoke to Officer Hale’s mother to express my sympathy and to let her know just how much her son’s sacrifice means to us all. She thanked me for the memorial tribute on the wall of the current building to honor her son’s sacrifice. She then said that she wished it was in a better, nicer building because the condition the officers work in says a lot about how the city values them. I was profoundly embarrassed.

Let’s show our community that we are proud of our public safety workers by building them a state-of-the-art building that helps them do their jobs well. Let’s preserve the history of public service at this site by building a public safety center in the heart of downtown where its doors can be open to citizens and visitors alike. Let’s prioritize public safety as crucial to the success of our community, for today and for generations to come.

Council Meeting Today!

City Council meeting today! Please come out and join the conversation!

Full agenda available here!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fire Operations Day!

This weekend, I was able to to take part in a very special day with the Raleigh Fire Department. They were gracious enough to host the City Council at Fire Operations Day. This was an unique opportunity to learn about the risk and reward involved with being a firefighter, and to experience first-hand what it's like to be fighting a fire.

We started the day in the classroom, going through a series of exercises required for all emergency medical technicians and firefighters.

After our training session, we were presented with our gear and got prepared to put our knowledge to the test!

The Keeter Training Center, with a controlled fire ready to be extinguished!

The temperature inside exceeded 140 degrees, and I was exhausted after just a few minutes inside! I have a huge respect for the men and women who endure this heat
and danger everyday to save lives. Thank you!!

I had such a great time at Fire Operations Day! A very special thanks to the Raleigh Fire Department for putting this together, it was the opportunity of a lifetime!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Downtown Amphitheter & Festival Site

Raleigh was truly alive on First Friday as people flooded into downtown on bikes, on foot, by car and the R-Line to enjoy the great assortment of art and music shows across town.
One of the most exciting events was celebrating the new downtown Amphitheater & Festival Site as it came to life with wonderful music and a packed house! This 5500 seat venue is a great addition to downtown and operated by the City of Raleigh! The Shimmer Wall makes for a spectacular backdrop, and is an excellent example of the enrichment public art can bring to a community. Thanks to everyone who came out for the inaugural evening, and I hope you will all have a chance to attend an event there soon. This venue is intended for both music and community events. There is an R-Line stop right at the entrance, and plenty of parking at the Convention Center deck.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

City Council Meeting!

City Council Meeting today! Full agenda available here!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interim Police Headquarters Dedication

Yesterday, the Raleigh Police Department held the dedication of the facility that will be their temporary home. I was honored to be on hand and share a few words. The current facility is located on Six Forks Road, about a mile north of North Hills. I am happy to have the interim headquarters in District A, but remain hopeful that the facility will move back downtown in two or three years into a new facility!

The current headquarters will house administrators, field operations, police records, recruiting and internal affairs unit. The facility on Six Forks Road will also be home to the RPD's North district, one of six districts in the city.

I am happy to welcome the RPD to District A, and thank you for inviting me to take part in yesterdays' ceremony!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sewer Overflows

Have you seen these huge Grease Trucks driving around Raleigh? Their purpose is to clear drains have been clogged with oil, grease and trash or to remove the roots invading older pipes.

The major problem with dumping grease down the drain is that this causes major sewer overflows. Sewer backups are incredibly expensive for the City to clean up, so please help out by avoiding the following:

- Pour grease, fats and oils from cooking down the drain.
- Use the toilet as a wastebasket.
- Use the sewer on the street as a means to dispose of food scraps.

The City of Raleigh offers a single $50 cash reward to the first person who report a confirmed sanitary sewer overflow to the City. Please call the Public Utilities Operations Division at 919-250-2737, to report a sewer back-up or overflow. After hours call the after-hours emergency number, 919-829-1930.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

City Council Meeting Today

We have a City Council Meeting today, the full agenda is available here.

Today, we will be voting on stricter stormwater standards that will protect our neighborhoods and environment now and for years to come. For all you who keep up with my blog, you know how important this issue has been to me and how much work I have committed to strengthening our stormwater standards. I believe that Raleigh should take the lead and willingly comply with the Federal Clean Water Act, I hope that my fellow Councilors will agree, and that we will continue to move in the right direction with this process.


Today kicks off 2010 WaterFest at the E.M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant in Raleigh! This is a great program put together by the Cities Public Utilities Department. WaterFest is being held through Thursday, from 9am-2pm each day, and is free of charge and open to the public.

WaterFest is geared toward kids ages K-8th grade, and is full of fun learning opportunities for everyone. The folks who host WaterFest do a great job of teaching the kids in attendance about water conservation, how water is kept clean and contaminate-fee, and how water makes it to their homes.

There are tons of activities to enjoy: open-air water bus rides, hay rides, digging for fossils, touring the facility, lab experiments, and much more! The event is open to school groups, civic groups, and families and is a tremendous opportunity to learn about Raleigh's Water System.

I encourage everyone to stop by, and as always, use water wisely!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

National Women's Health Week

Thanks to everyone who helped put this great event together!

With my two daughters, Katie and Emily. It was great to have two of my favorite women at this event with me!

May 9-15 is National Women's Health Week and I had the honor of presenting the proclamation at the Raleigh event. It was great to be a part of a nation-wide event with such an important message.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Womens Health has put together this week-long series of events across the country to encourage women to make their health a top priority. In the Triangle, we are fortunate to have so many leading health care facilities and institutes. In fact, the Triangle has repeatedly ranked as one of the nation's healthiest metropolitan areas for women!

As a healthcare professional, I encourage everyone to live as healthily as possible, especially women! There are so many simple steps that can be taken to live a longer, happier, and healthier life!

I have included a few pictures from the event, please enjoy! Thanks to everyone who put this event together, and thanks for including me in the fun!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Second Annual Prescription Pill Drop-Off

The Substance Abuse Advisory Commission is joining forces with the Raleigh Police Department and the City of Raleigh Community Service's Department to hold the Second Annual Prescription Pill Drop-Off Day on May 22. This is a wonderful community event that raises awareness about prescription drug abuse, and helps to get unneeded pills out of homes and off of the streets.

Prescription drugs will be accepted anonymously, with no questions asked. There will also be information available on proper disposal methods of unneeded medications, as well as the risks of misusing prescription drugs.

Last year, over 44,000 pills were collected and diverted from potential misuse or abuse. Please come out and help to make this year's event an even bigger success!

Medications will be accepted at these four Food Lion Locations from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, May 22:

  • 5633 Creedmoor Road, at the intersection of Millbrook Road
  • 4510 Capital Boulevard, at Mini-City, close to US 401
  • 1601 Cross Link Road, South of I-40, near Rock Quarry Road
  • 2420 Wycliff Road, near Rex Hospital, off of Lake Boone Trail at I-440

Saturday, May 8, 2010

2010 Inter-City Visit & Leadership Conference

With Congressman Brad Miller and Raleigh Chamber of Commerce chair Sepi Asefnia.

Last week, I traveled to Fairfax County, Virginia and Washington, D.C. with the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Inter-City Task Force. As many of you know, I grew up in the DC area, which made the trip especially exciting for me! This annual trip brings together business and community leaders from Raleigh to travel to other cities to learn about their successes and challenges. As a business woman and City Councilor I find it helpful to dialogue with stakeholders from other cities about how to develop a strong quality of life through economic and public investment. We often face similar circumstances and it is helpful to learn how others are navigating the growing process.

We focused on several challenges that growing cities face: public safety, education, transit, housing, and smart development. The Fairfax/DC area has done a tremendous job of equipping itself with community services and programs that make it a great place to live. It has developed into a metropolitan area rich with commerce, trade, and technology, which has, in turn, led to great schools and dynamic diverse communities. I believe that it is important for community leaders in both business and public service to always strive to improve the quality of life in the area which they live and work. This trip was an excellent opportunity for all of us to gain ideas and insight on how we can make public and private progress in Raleigh.

Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the trip for me was being able to take part in the forum "Task Force's Task: Conquering Congestion." I was privileged to serve as the moderator of the discussion, which was centered around Tyson's Corner in Fairfax County, Virginia. Having grown up in the area, I have witnessed the tremendous growth. This area is home to 105,000 employees but only 17,000 residents. The Tyson's Corner team is steadily working towards acheiving several long-term goals in the area, but face growing problems of congestion, land use, and need to find new and innovative ways to gain public support of the comprehensive project. While it is clear that Tyson's Corner faces many pressing challenges, perhaps the biggest will be reversing the consequences of inaction.

During the discussion on Tyson's Corner, I couldn't help but think of Crabtree Valley Mall and the problems we face with congestion there. As many of you may already know, the traffic at Crabtree Valley is a problem I am working hard to solve. Taking part in the forum on Tyson's Corner encouraged me to continue the dialogue surrounding a solution to the growing problem of traffic and congestion at Crabtree Valley.

Without a doubt this experience was beneficial for all who participated. I would like to thank the folks at the Raleigh Chamber for coordinating the trip and allowing me to serve on the Inter-City Task Force! I encourage other local business leaders to get involved with the program and consider joining us next year.

I would like to clarify that I did NOT use any public money to attend this trip. I provided my own funding for my participation.