In September, we prepared the new Southwest Area Plan for its final public hearing on October 5.
Southwest Area Plan: The new Southwest Area Plan will go to public hearing this Monday, October 5, before the full City Council during the meeting which begins 7:30 p.m. at City Hall. Public comments are invited. The Southwest Area Plan covers Ardmore; plus the smaller neighborhoods bordered by Business 40, Stratford Road, and Silas Creek Parkway; as well as the areas around our two hospitals, and the commercial area along Stratford Road between Business 40 and Silas Creek Parkway.
Small area plans are intended to give city/county planners guidance in reviewing rezoning requests in the affected areas. They also serve as useful guidance for city investments in needed facilities, from parks to transportation. The Southwest Area Plan was developed over the past year with assistance from a citizen advisory committee, which has worked hard and held multiple public input sessions. The draft plan can be reviewed at http://www.cityofws.org/Home/Departments/Planning/AreaPlans/Articles/Southwest
The Southwest Suburban Area Plan, which covers much of the rest of the Southwest Ward, was finalized in August 2008.
Public safety grants: During September, the city learned that we will receive over $875,000 in federal grants to improve programs in our police department. These include funds to hire three additional crime analysts; a joint program with WSSU and the Center for Community Safety to focus on drugs and high crime areas; and additional equipment, supplies and training for the department's forensics division. These funds were awarded through competitive grant programs, in which Winston-Salem showed our readiness to put these resources to effective use in deterring and responding to crime in our community.
Coyotes: Over the past few months, I've occasionally received questions about coyotes spotted in the city. I thought some of the information I've researched and provided in response would be of interest to many of you. Here are some coyote facts:
Stadium construction underway: Speaking of urban wildlife: Last week, the cats were finally herded into the same room, all the paperwork was signed, and crews got back to work on completing Winston-Salem's new baseball stadium. By the last day of September, construction was back in full swing. The stadium should be complete and open for the start of the 2010 baseball season.
For all the sound and fury surrounding this issue, these key facts remain:
Without doubt, the process of arriving at this point frustrated and aggravated us all. That we have gotten here in the end, however, is a testament to the power of patient, steady work. You haven't heard me expressing my aggravation with this situation because I've been trying instead to help work out the resolution of a challenging problem.
Plastic bottles: As of October 1, please remember to put all those plastic drink bottles in the recycling bin, not the trash. That's when a new state law comes into effect, requiring us to keep plastic drink bottles from going into the landfill. Don't worry—there will be no "garbage police" checking your household trash. However, by participating in our curbside recycling program, you'll be saving the city from unnecessary back-end sorting costs—as well as helping protect our environment for our children.
Neighborhood updates: Residents of Ardmore are invited to the Ardmore Neighborhood Association's annual meeting on Tuesday, October 13, starting at 7 p.m. at Ardmore Methodist Church. This meeting will elect ANA officers for the year, as well as hear from candidates (including me) for the Southwest Ward City Council seat.
The Salem Woods neighborhood had a very well-attended meeting on September 22, when it heard from a Winston-Salem Police Department representative about the neighborhood watch program. Salem Woods will meet again on October 27.
During September, I also participated in neighborhood meetings in Bolton Park, Atwood Acres, Burke Park, and Sheffield Gardens. Thanks to all the neighbors of the Southwest Ward for working together to protect and improve our neighborhoods!
Early voting: We're closing in on the finale of this year's Winston-Salem city elections. Early voting for mayor and all eight city council seats begins on Thursday, October 15. There's only one early voting site this year, downtown at the Forsyth County Board of Elections office in the county government building on Chestnut Street. For more information about registration or voting, please check the Board of Elections webpage at http://www.co.forsyth.nc.us/elections/