Month: November 2017

Wake Forest relaunches online engagement website

The Town of Wake Forest is pleased to announce the relaunch of “Engage Wake Forest” – a comprehensive community engagement website where citizens can engage, communicate and collaborate with decision makers and other residents on the future of our community. Developed by mySidewalk, the site can be accessed at http://wakeforest.mindmixer.com/.

The goal of Engage Wake Forest is to encourage area residents to participate in the planning process for a variety of Town initiatives. Along the way, the site will be used as an online tool to generate new ideas and feedback from citizens through an interactive and accessible platform.

Town officials and staff will use the feedback from the engagement website to lay out plans on a variety of projects.

“Engage Wake Forest will allow our citizens to offer their input 24-hours-a-day on a variety of Town initiatives,” said Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones. “We are pleased to offer this innovative tool and encourage all our residents to use it and connect with their town government.”

Engage Wake Forest gives contributors a chance to share new ideas, second others’ ideas, expand upon existing ideas and give feedback on initiatives, working with community leaders on a variety of topics online anytime, anywhere.

The online discussion has begun with topics related to the upcoming holiday season and the 2018 Comprehensive Wake Forest Transportation Plan. Community input promises to be the cornerstone of the Transportation Plan and “Engage Wake Forest” is one of several innovative ways the Town will solicit feedback from the public.

Current questions posed on Engage Wake Forest include the following:

  • Of Wake Forest’s numerous holiday events, which is your favorite & why?

  • What is your preferred vision for transportation in our community?

In addition to topic questions, Engage Wake Forest will utilize polls, surveys, idea submissions and picture share opportunities to engage citizens.

Among its many features, the site measures and tracks participation, identifying the most interested citizens and most compelling topics. MindMixer’s tools make it easy for administrations to communicate back with citizens, and they deliver measurable results and invaluable insights for the planning process.

“Our tools go beyond just technology, said Stephen Hardy, CEO of mySidewalk. “Our mission is to build community contributors. Ideas, voices and perspectives are shared to facilitate deeper and better conversations that yield actionable insights and a stronger community.”

As part of its service, mySidewalk consults and collaborates with clients to identify issues that are critical to stakeholders in order to update topics and content for their websites.

The Town originally launched “Engage Wake Forest” through MindMixer in September 2014. In March 2015,MindMixer rebranded to mySidewalk and the company began offering a different engagement solution before re-launching its MindMixer product earlier this year.

To learn more, contact Communications & Public Affairs Director Bill Crabtree at 919-435-9421 or bcrabtree@wakeforestnc.gov.

Town earns favorable audit report

During its normal monthly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21, the Board of Commissioners received the results of an independent audit report from Cherry Bekaert LLP for the period July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

In addition to not revealing any audit findings or problems, the report acknowledged that the Town is in compliance with all of its financial policies and operating with strong internal controls in place.

The report also included several financial performance highlights:

  • Net change in the Town’s fund balance resulted in an increase of $1.6 million in the general fund;

  • Wake Forest collected 99.86% of its property taxes – its highest rate over the past 10 years and higher than the average rate of 98.25 percent for towns of similar size;

  • The Town’s property tax base was $4.7 billion on June 30, 2017, compared to $4.5 billion at the same time last year

  • Property tax collections were $24.5 million – $1 million more than last year;

  • The electric fund enjoyed an increase in net position (total revenues over expenses) of $660,000;

  • Wake Forest has a total outstanding debt of $24.6 million, which is substantially less than the applicable state-mandated limit of $43.1 million. Also, the percentage of the debt compared to the tax valuation is 0.92 percent, less than the Town’s policy of two percent or the state’s statute which is eight percent.

In addition, for the 27thconsecutive year, Wake Forest received the Certificate for Achievement of Excellence in Financial Reporting.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Aileen Staples said the favorable audit report is the result of a “team approach” and the Town’s “conservative fiscal philosophy.”

“We continue to be financially sound due to the collaborative efforts of the Board, Town Manager, Department Directors and staff,” she said. “In addition, as an organization, we are fiscally conservative with our revenue and expenditure projections. This report confirms that our approach is working, while reaffirming that we continue to be responsible stewards of the Town’s resources.”

Staples also acknowledged the work of Assistant Finance Director Antwan Morrison.

“Antwan has done an incredible job coordinating the audit process and writing the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,” she said. “We are extremely fortunate to have him leading this effort.”

To view the 2016-17 CAFR, visit wakeforestnc.gov and search “CAFR.”

For more information, contact CFO Aileen Staples at 919-435-9461 or astaples@wakeforestnc.gov.

Holding Park Playground closed Wednesday through Friday

The playground at Holding Park, 133 W. Owen Ave., will be closed Wednesday, Nov. 29, through Friday, Dec. 1. The closure is necessary in order to allow crews to paint the playground equipment.

Caution tape will encircle the playground to inform park visitors of the closure.

The playground will reopen Saturday, Dec. 2.

For more information, contact Park Maintenance Superintendent Josh Glover at 919-554-6184 or jglover@wakeforestnc.gov.

Renaissance Centre to host Special Needs Movie Matinee Sunday

The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre, 405 S. Brooks St., will host a Special Needs Movie Matinee Holiday Edition this Sunday, Dec. 3, at 4 p.m.

Sponsored by the Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department, this free event will offer exceptional children and their families the opportunity to enjoy a film in a safe and accepting environment. To help ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone, the viewing area will include extra lighting, and the movie’s volume will be slightly lower.

As part of the event’s “Polar Express” theme, each child will receive a golden ticket to “ride” the Polar Express. The afternoon will also include hot chocolate and a children’s craft activity. In addition, kids are invited towear their pajamas.

There is no cost to participate, but a parent or caretaker must accompany each child.

Due tothe terms and conditions in its agreement with the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation, the Renaissance Centre is not permitted to announce the title of this film to the general public, but here’s a hint: The movie title is related to the event theme.

For more information about the Special Needs Movie Matinee, contact Specialized Programs Recreation Specialist Kelly Schurtz at 919-556-7093 or kschurtz@wakeforestnc.gov.

Renaissance Centre to host “Holiday Pajama Night” Dec. 8

The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts will host “Holiday Pajama Night” on Friday, Dec. 8, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Free and open to the public, the event will feature Atlantic Coast Theatre for Youth’s performance of “The Snow Queen.”

Throw on your PJs and bring your favorite cuddly blanket to watch this popular bedtime story come to life on stage. Hans Christian Andersen’s adapted tale of “The Snow Queen” introduces the audience to Gerda who must save her friend, Kay, who can see no good in the world.

Gerda seeks help from a talking crow, comical Robber Prince and a reindeer herder, as they try to save her from the mysterious Snow Queen.

Holiday Pajama Night is geared for young and school age children but open to all ages. Promising a fun and educational evening, the event invites children to wear their pajamas and bring their favorite cuddly blanket to watch a featured theater company bring bedtime stories to life.

No registration is required, and concessions will be available for purchase.

Holiday Pajama Night is part of the Renaissance Centre’s “Arts For All” Series free community performance series, which is supported by United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.

Prior to the start of Holiday Pajama Night, the Wake Forest High School Renaissance Arts Productions, Inc. will present “A Seussified Christmas Carol” from 5:50-6:20 p.m. This play has been described as “a whimsical reinvention of Dickens’ most beloved Christmas story in wacky rhymed couplets. With zoot fruited juices and binka bird geese, from Bed-Headed Fred to Timmy Loo Hoo, this tale of glorious holiday cheer is similar to something Dr. Seuss might have come up with – if he ever had his way with the story.” Doors open at 5:45 p.m.

For more information, visit wakeforestrencen.org or contact Renaissance Centre Specialist Debra Horton at 919-435-9566 or dhorton@wakeforestnc.gov.

To receive email notifications concerning special events and programs at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre, sign up forE-Notifier at www.wakeforestnc.gov/enotifier.aspx.

Renaissance Centre offering interactive art workshops in December

The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre will offer interactive workshops in December for children and adults.

Designed to excite and develop the artistic vision and creative talents of children and adults, these workshops will spark the imagination and inspire a connection to the visual and creative arts and art making.

On Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10-11:30 a.m. the Renaissance Centre will offer “Make & Take Spa Basket” for ages 16 and older. This workshop will allow you to pamper someone you love with a beautiful “do it yourself” spa basket. Bring the spa to them with a basket full of natural goodies made using Young Living Essential Oils. Learn how to create and complete the perfect gift basket for someone special without breaking the bank. The cost is $40 and all supplies are included. The registration deadline is Thursday, Dec. 7.

On Saturday, Dec. 16, from 10 a.m.-noon, children ages 5-8 are invited to participate in “Santa’s Secret Workshop.” Here is your chance to make a handmade surprise for mom, dad or another loved one. Choose, create and wrap your gift ready to give that special someone. The cost is $20 and all supplies are included. The deadline to register is Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Each session will be taught by an accomplished artist-instructor in a relaxed environment that encourages exploration of process and self-expression.

Online registration is available athttp://wakeforestnc.recdesk.com/. Payment can be made with debit card, MasterCard and Visa. Walk-in registrations are also accepted daily at the Renaissance Centre Box Office, 405 S. Brooks St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Acceptable forms of payment include cash, check, debit card, MasterCard and Visa.

For more information, contact Renaissance Centre Specialist Debra Horton at 919-435-9566 or dhorton@wakeforestnc.gov.

Traffic Alert – Retail Drive

Drivers should expect delays along the 11000 block of Retail Drive, in the vicinity of Chick-fil-A, today and tomorrow, Nov. 28-29, from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.

Brinley’s Grading, a contractor working at the site of 981 Crossing, will reduce a portion of Retail Drive from three lanes to two lanes. The lane reduction will require northbound traffic to be shifted into the southbound turn lane.

The lane reduction is necessary due to the installation of a sand filter.

No detours will be posted, but signs and cones will be in place to safely direct traffic through the work area.

The Town of Wake Forest provides this information as a public service. Planned road closures and restrictions are necessary to allow for a variety of work. Motorists are encouraged to use the information to help plan their route and move safely through the work area. Weather and unforeseen circumstances occasionally prevent work from being completed as scheduled and make it unsafe to reopen lanes or streets when planned. When this occurs, town staff works with contractors to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and reduce impacts to the traveling public.

When traveling through a construction area, drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians are asked to be patient, proceed with caution, and obey flaggers at all times. Drivers should get in the correct lane well in advance and constantly be on the lookout for vehicles merging into adjacent travel lanes as they approach a work zone. Drivers are also urged to double their following distances.

For more information about this road project, contact Town Engineer Eric Keravuori at 919-435-9441 or ekeravuori@wakeforestnc.gov.

To receive email notifications concerning road closures and traffic alerts in Wake Forest, sign up for E-Notifier at www.wakeforestnc.gov/enotifier.aspx.

Still time to donate to Shop with a Cop

The Wake Forest Police Department is accepting donations from area residents and businesses for the 19th Annual Shop with a Cop through Friday, Dec. 15.

To donate online via PayPal, visit www.wakeforestnc.gov/donate-to-shop-with-a-cop.aspx. Checks and cash can be mailed or delivered to the Wake Forest Police Department, 225 S. Taylor St.

This year’s Shop with a Cop holiday shopping spree is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 19. On that day approximately 30 area children will visit the Wake Forest Police Department where they will be paired with their police officer “partners.” The kids and their partners will then be transported by bus to the Wake Forest Walmart, where each child will be given $200 to spend on a winter coat and other items of their choice. Parents are encouraged not to accompany their children.

Following the shopping spree, the children and their partners will be treated to a pizza party.

The Police Department introduced Shop with a Cop to help less fortunate boys and girls in the Wake Forest area experience a joyous Christmas. Since its inception in 1999, the program has helped well over 400 local children.

The Wake Forest Police Department raises money for Shop with a Cop through grants and donations from area citizens, churches, civic groups, and merchants. For more information, contact Lt. Brian Mote at 919-554-6150 or bmote@wakeforestnc.gov.

Letters for Santa mailbox now available

The Town of Wake Forest has installed a “Letters for Santa” mailbox in Jones Plaza at the intersection of South White Street and East Jones Avenue.

Children of all ages are invited to bring their letters to Santa’s Mailbox anytime between now and Dec. 24 for immediate delivery to the North Pole. Letters received by Thursday, Dec. 14, will receive a personal response from Santa Claus himself.

No postage is required, but all letters should include a return address.

For more information, contact Downtown Development Program Assistant Jennifer Herbert at 919-435-9427 or jherbert@wakeforestnc.gov.

Wake Forest Christmas Parade Dec. 9

Area residents are invited to experience the magic of the holiday season during the Wake Forest Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 9. Sponsored by PowerSecure and presented by Wake Forest Downtown, Inc., the parade gets underway at 1 p.m.

This year’s procession will feature over 100 colorful floats, four high school marching bands, entries from local businesses, churches, schools and civic groups, and – of course – Santa Claus.

The parade will begin at the intersection of Elm Avenue and South White Street and continue north along South White Street before turning east onto Wait Avenue. It will then turn south onto South Brooks Street and continue until ending at the Elm Avenue intersection.

Several street closures will take effect in the downtown area prior to the parade. Beginning at approximately 10 a.m., motorists traveling along the Dr. Calvin Jones Highway/NC 98 Bypass will not be permitted to turn onto South Franklin Street. In order to ensure a smooth flow of traffic, motorists will only be allowed to access South Franklin Street via Wait Avenue.

Also closing at 10 a.m. are East Holding Avenue, from South Main Street to South Franklin Street; South White Street, from East Holding Avenue to Elm Avenue; and Elm Avenue, from South Franklin Street to South White Street.

Starting at noon, South White Street, from Elm Avenue to East Roosevelt Avenue, will be shut down, as will Wait Avenue, from South White Street to South Brooks Street; and South Brooks Street, from Wait Avenue to Elm Avenue.

Due to these road closures, area residents planning to visit the US Post Office at 224 E. Holding Ave. may wish to consider the Wake Forest Post Office branch located at 910 Gateway Commons Circle. In addition, residents of Heath Ridge Village will only be allowed to access the subdivision via Wait Avenue and South Franklin Street.

The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary will allow free parade parking in the lots located at the intersections of South Avenue and South Main Street and Stadium Drive and Rock Spring Road. Parking is also available in the lot just north of the Durham Road and South Wingate Street intersection. Wake Forest Baptist Church will also allow free parade parking. Parade parking signage will be posted at each of these locations.

Handicap-accessible parking will be available at The Forks Cafeteria, 339 S. Brooks St.; Wake Forest Town Hall, 301 S. Brooks St.; and SunTrust Bank, 353 S. White St. Residents with a Disabled Person placard or license plate will be permitted to access these parking lots via Franklin Street and Elm Avenue. Due to the numerous street closures scheduled in the downtown area, anyone planning to park in one of these lots is urged to arrive no later than noon.

This year’s Christmas Parade will feature a designated viewing area for wheelchair-bound attendees. Located in front of the Wake Forest Town Hall, 301 S. Brooks St., this reserved area will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Space will be limited, so guests are encouraged to arrive early. In addition, parties of more than four may be asked to separate and reunite after the parade.

Food and refreshments will be available for purchase at several downtown restaurants. The VFW Chuckwagon and Lumpy’s Ice Cream will also be on site in the parking lot of the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce, 350 S. White St.

A downloadable Christmas parade map highlighting the parade route, related road closures and event parking is available at www.wakeforestnc.gov/wake-forest-christmas-parade.aspx.

Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 13, the Town of Wake Forest will rebroadcast the Christmas Parade daily on WFTV 10 at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. throughout the remainder of December. The parade will also be provided online at www.wakeforestnc.gov/wake-forest-christmas-parade.aspx.

For more information about this year’s Wake Forest Christmas Parade, contact Downtown Development Program Assistant Lynnette Beadle at 919-435-9416 or lbeadle@wakeforestnc.gov.

For a complete listing of Town-sponsored holiday events, visit www.wakeforestnc.gov/christmas-in-wake-forest.aspx.

To receive email notifications concerning special events in Wake Forest, sign up for E-Notifier at www.wakeforestnc.gov/enotifier.aspx.