Library Update Feb. 12, 2018

After some information gathering partnered with multiple meetings the Village and County have a clear path forward for the library. If anyone wants to hear how the sausage is made I would be happy to share those steps in greater detail.

  • Monthly meetings.  Each month we have a regularly scheduled meeting that includes the following attendees:
    • Damon Sanders-Pratt, Deputy County Manager
    • Scott Buffkin, Village Manager
    • Mike Gunnell, Dir. of Public Works
    • Megan Ledbetter, Village Planner
    • David Byington, Architect (citizen volunteer)
    • Lee Reynolds, President of the Friends of Library (citizen volunteer)
    • Mike Combest, Councilman
    • Michelle Barson, Councilwoman
  • While we are too far in the process to change the delivery system (i.e. the process by which it is bid and constructed) we are not too late to participate in further value engineering. To avoid design change fees we will work, in advance of knowing exact figures for the overall process, by prioritizing items that were taken out of the project already.  Damon is going to make a list of all of the items that were deducted from the project and get prices for each item.  The above listed group of people will then prioritize the items to be added back in if/when possible. When more specific numbers are given to the overall project we can better pick and choose what makes the most sense.
  • We are also not too late to make material changes. This means that with the help of David (a private sector architect) we will have a set of trained eyes telling us what materials we may be able to substitute for others without there being any obvious impact to the quality of construction or the aesthetics.  This is a great place for us to find dollars to attribute to other items.

The best news in all of this is that the Village feels like a partner again in the construction of its new library and we can better keep the citizens abreast of the any changes. One thing that Damon and Dudley stressed, that I want to stress to my followers, is that there were “non-negotiables” provided to the county by the previous library group and those are still there and they relate more to the interior uses, which at the end of the day is what matters most.

Not my most eloquent quote, but what I was trying to say at the the meeting was that I was glad there was a minor uproar over the changes to the exterior of the library by the people of Clemmons. It brought the library to the forefront of the Councils’ mind and gave us the direction we needed to re-engage with the county and stay involved with the construction process.  The council serves the people and receiving that type of feedback provides us the guidance that we need.

Idols Industrial Park Update

Prepared by: Scott Buffkin, Village Manager

Date: February 12, 2018

WHY YOU ARE RECEIVING THIS UPDATE

Upon request by Mayor Wait, the Village Manager will make a report at each Council meeting going forward as a means to keep Council fully up to date with all communications between the Village and the County about the Idols Road Industrial Park Project. Very little has changed since last Council meeting so I felt a good report at this point would be a quick review for Council on the Village’s efforts to date to work in regard to the project.

WHERE THIS PROJECT STARTED

As County Manger Watts reported at our January 22, 2018 Council meeting, County and Village staff members have met on multiple occasions to discuss and attempt to work through our mutual concerns about the project. On April 10, 2017 Village staff, County staff including planning staff and Utilities Commission staff met.  Among the items of discussion were development standards, traffic analyses, the nature and amount of upgrades that the Village is being asked to contribute to, etc.  Utilities Commission staff members confirmed their understanding that the funds being requested are contained within the Clemmons reserve fund which was created to fund utility extensions and improvements.  These funds are considered restricted revenues and they may only be used for that purpose.  (The balance of that fund at the end of 2017 = $3,689,601.73.)

Over the next few months Village and County staff met to try to address Council concerns expressed at the annual retreat about traffic generation, design standards, zoning approvals, etc. On May 8, 2017 Mr. Kornelis presented a draft interlocal agreement which would maintain County approval of the zoning approval with annexation of each parcel conditioned as a deed restriction for any new or subsequent owner.  At that time Council did not agree to a proposal that would not include annexation of the entire property from the beginning.  However, Village staff were directed to continue working with County staff to explore all possible resolutions.

In June Village staff delivered an interlocal that we felt was more likely to receive favorable consideration by the Village Council. Among other things it included annexation up front, addressed the need for traffic analyses, development standards and zoning.  County staff reviewed the draft proposal and later replied that they could not agree to many of the provisions contained therein.

On August 17, 2017 the Village Council in it’s entirely conducted a special meeting with Commissioners Plyler and Martin to continue discussions. At this meeting the Commissioners and Council members each had an opportunity to express concerns.  The Commissioners agreed on the importance of continued open dialogue and working together moving forward.

WHERE WE ARE AT NOW

Since that time staff members have held a number of conversations and Village staff has shared the scope of traffic impact analyses, design standards, etc. that would be required if the project were within the Village. The County has continued to move forward on the project as evidenced by their participation in the regional sewer lift station and continued negotiations with the first prospective tenant of the park.

 

THOUGHTS AND MOVING FORWARD – Michelle Barson, Feb 13, 2018

As of now the county took out a loan to handle the sewage costs for their industrial park. The cost is approximately 1.2 million, which is well within the money that the Village has earmarked for such expenses. The question is why don’t we want this deal. The deal previously laid out provided annexation to Clemmons, but only after the industrial park was built and not adhering to Clemmons design standards (as well as some other finer points that just didn’t feel like a good deal for Clemmons). It would also take a number of years (just how many is being looked into currently) to recoup our investment into the industrial park via tax revenue.  The benefit of annexation would be future control of the industrial park and the tax revenue from it.

If this park is going to happen no matter what the council needs to see if we can’t come to a better agreement. First, two questions to have answered.

  1. How long would it take to recoup our investment?

(I’ve heard three different numbers for this)

2. What other sewage projects are vying for those same dollars?

(Great question by Mayor Wait)

Once answered, we will have to weigh what is best for Clemmons – after all, this industrial park will sits across from one of our largest residential developments (Clemmons West), is next to our crown jewel (Tanglewood Park) and would appear as though in Clemmons to any passerby.

 

Safety through community engagement

crime photo
EXCERPT: The city of Winston-Salem experienced 25 homicides in 2017, a statistic that residents shouldn’t accept, Police Chief Catrina Thompson says.
 
“We should never tolerate violence in our community,” Thompson said. “To combat this problem as a community, we can take time to invest in our youth.” END EXCERPT
 
There are many ways to combat violence and investing in our youth is just one of them. The Village of Clemmons has been working on engaging our youth and providing fun, safe and family-friendly activities in our community (thank you, Shannon Ford).
 
As children get older they look for more activities to keep them busy. As a former YMCA employee in youth sports I know that as children age the activities that once engaged them often cease to. I hope that Clemmons can begin to look at ways to engage our youth with safe activities that don’t take adult oversight to participate in.  For instance, Clemmons has no public parks, basketball courts or tennis courts. We lack sidewalks and greenways that older youth could use to get to Tangelwood Park, the YMCA or to their friends’ homes.
 
EXCERPT: …“it is not uncommon for neighborhoods to become less of a ‘community’ and more of a heterogeneity place where people live around each other but do not have consistently safe interactions.
 
“This increases the likelihood of being victimized by someone they know and also not having a ‘neighborhood watch’ to protect from victimization,” she said. END EXCERPT
 
 In 2018, I hope that we can find ways to provide safe outlets to our youth and increase our feelings of friendship and community by better connecting with one another through these same opportunities. Get to know your neighbor. Talk to people at the grocery store.  The more we can make our houses feel like homes and our neighbors feel like our friends the safer we will make our beautiful Village of Clemmons.
 
Have a safe, happy and healthy new year!
Read full article here.