Welcome to our weekly e-newsletter - What's Up in Wake Forest. Here you'll find information about Town programs, services, activities, projects, special events and more! If you haven't already, tell your friends and neighbors to visit our E-Notifier page to learn about our full array of free email offerings.

The Wake Forest Police Department (WFPD) will host Operation Medicine Drop Saturday, April 24, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Town Hall Ground Floor Meeting Room, 301 S. Brooks St. The room is most easily accessed via Town Hall’s Taylor Street entrance.

The WFPD offers Operation Medicine Drop (OMD) as a prescription and over-the-counter medication take-back initiative that promotes proper medication disposal. By providing a safe and secure way for people to get rid of unwanted pills, tablets, and other medications, OMD helps prevent accidental poisonings and drug abuse, while also protecting local rivers and streams. The service is free, anonymous and no questions will be asked.

Due to COVID-19, anyone dropping off unwanted medications will be required to wear a mask when entering Town Hall.

Participants can help law enforcement officials properly identify and sort the medications by disposing expired, unused, or unwanted medicine in its original container with the drug label intact. All the medications collected during the drop-off event will be secured by law enforcement and destroyed by incineration.

The push to bring lifesaving COVID-19 shots closer to communities continues Monday with the opening of a new vaccination clinic in Wake Forest at the Wake County Northern Regional Center, 350 E. Holding Ave.

This new site will offer free vaccines five days week, including evening and weekend hours. The county’s regional centers are ideal places to host these clinics, because they’re already well known in the community for providing lots of county services in one convenient location.

“It’s not always easy for people to go to Raleigh to access county programs and services like mass vaccination clinics, and that's exactly why these regional centers exist – to bring those services to residents in the community where they live,” said Ross Yeager, Director of the Northern Regional Center. “Dozens of people already come here to vote, get a copy of a birth certificate, pay taxes, search for a job, pick up free summer meals for students and more. It only makes sense for us to also offer critical vaccines to the community here.”

In its first week, the Northern Regional Center will offer vaccine appointments on Monday and Tuesday from noon to 3:30 each day. Then, on Wednesday, regular weekly hours will begin as follows:

  • Sunday – Closed
  • Monday – 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday – 12:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday – Closed
  • Thursday – 12:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Friday – 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday – 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The Urban Forestry Division is accepting nominations through Friday, April 23, for the Wake Forest 2021 Tree of the Year award. Trees may be nominated for their size, species, historic significance, personal meaning, community benefit or general notoriety – but they must be located within the Wake Forest town limits.

To submit your choice, visit our website, complete the nomination form and upload a photo of your tree. Finalists will be selected by Town staff, then voted on by the community during the week of April 26. The tree that receives the most votes will be announced as the winner on Arbor Day, Friday, April 30, while the submitter will receive a certificate crowning their tree as the Wake Forest 2021 Tree of the Year.

The Triangle Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced the Joyner Park Community Center (JPCC) project as one of eight Merit Award winners during the AIA Triangle Design Awards Program on April 16. The award was given to the Town of Wake Forest and architect and engineer, Clark Nexsen.

The AIA Triangle Design Awards Program recognizes excellence in architectural design throughout the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area. The awards are announced and presented each spring at the AIA Triangle Design Awards Reception. This year, due to COVID, the winners were announced during a virtual awards ceremony.

In announcing the JPCC as a Merit Award winner, 2021 Jury Chair Carla Swickerath said, “The jury was impressed with the rigorous and thoughtful design of the community center, not only in its context but in its engagement with the community. The creative use of space was impressive in a well-known program that can be driven by functional needs.”

Raleigh-based architectural and engineering firm, Clark Nexsen, designed the 32,000-squre-foot facility which is nestled in E. Carroll Joyner Park, 701 Harris Road. Designed to blend in with Joyner Park structures and the natural habitat, the facility was designed and constructed in a manner consistent with the park’s natural beauty and rustic feel.

The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts, 405 S. Brooks St., will re-open to the public and begin re-connecting with the community on Friday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by Yolanda Rabun.
 
Advance tickets are $20 each plus tax and can be purchased online with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit card or by calling the Renaissance Centre Box Office at 919-435-9458.
 
Yolanda Rabun is a fierce songstress and North Carolina-based recording artist who is versatile enough to handle all styles of music – but favors jazz and soul. Rabun exploded onto the jazz scene first on Stanley Baird’s 2007 Traffic Jam hit single, “I Want 2 Love You,” and, in 2011, released her debut CD project, “So Real,” on which she co-wrote several songs, including the title song. In 2012, Rabun infused Soul, R&B, Gospel, Folk, Smooth and Traditional Jazz on her sophomore solo album, “Christmastime,” and followed in 2013 with the Adult Contemporary single, “Hold on To Your Dreams.” For more information about Yolanda Rabun, visit http://yolandarabun.com/

The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre and the Wake Forest Guild of Artists will host the All Things Bright & Beautiful – New Beginnings Walk-Through Art Exhibit on Thursday, May 13, from 4-7 p.m.

Over 20 artists will display their works of art in a variety of mediums and styles, including acrylic, oil and watercolor paintings, sculpture, jewelry, glasswork, encaustic, woodworking and mixed media. Free and open to the public, the event offers an exciting opportunity for area residents to view works of art created by local artists.

Anyone interested in attending will be required to sign up for a 20-minute time slot. Please note: There is a limit of 10 participants per time slot.

Taylor Street Park Sprayground, 416 N. Taylor St., will open for the season on Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Then, from Sunday, April 25, through Sunday, June 13, the sprayground will operate according to the following schedule:

  • Sundays, 12:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Monday-Friday, 4-7:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Please Note: The sprayground will be open Memorial Day (Monday, May 31) from 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Free and open to the public, the sprayground will operate on weekends in two-hour sessions and on weekdays in 90-minute sessions, then close 30 minutes for cleaning.


In an ongoing effort to promote health and fitness during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources (PRCR) Department is again selling a limited number of take-home activity kits for children ages 3-12 of all ability levels. Starting today (Thursday, April 22), 48 kits are available for purchase on RecDesk for $5 each. No contact pickup is scheduled for Thursday, May 6, from 1-3 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. and Friday, May 7, from 10 a.m.-noon.

Each activity kit includes a variety of May Month of Fitness-themed items, including a hula hoop, ankle skip ball, walking stilts and a water bottle. Each kit includes supplies for one person and pre-registration is required. Please note: Due to the limited number of kits, a separate registration is required for each. The program is titled “May Month of Fitness Activity Kit.”

The Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department is partnering with GSK and the UNC Morehead Planetarium & Science Center to offer Science in the Summer for rising 2nd through 8th graders.

The free program will be offered at the Alston-Massenburg Center, 416 N. Taylor St., according to the following schedule:

  • Level 1 – 2nd and 3rd graders; Monday-Friday, July 19-23; 9 a.m.-noon
  • Level 2 – 4th and 5th graders; Monday-Friday, July 19-23; 1-4 pm
  • Level 3 – 6th-8th graders; Monday-Wednesday, Aug. 3-5; 9 a.m.-noon

There is no cost to participate, but due to limited seats in each session, registration is required. The online application is available on the Town website. Completed applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, May 28, and may be emailed to Recreation Specialist Garrett Bryant or delivered/mailed to the Alston-Massenburg Center, 416 N. Taylor St., Wake Forest, NC 27587.

The Town of Wake Forest is inviting residents to share their thoughts and opinions on a future Citizens’ Academy by completing a brief survey. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, April 30.

Designed to gauge community interest, assess the preferred class format and determine topics of interest, the questionnaire takes less than five minutes to complete.

The Town of Wake Forest is encouraging residents to stay informed about trash, recycling and yard waste collection by signing up for the “Waste Wizard.” The Waste Wizard is a free interactive tool that allows users to sign up for personalized trash and recycling collection reminders, download collection schedules and access online service request forms for bulk waste pickup, brush pickup and missed collections.

But that’s not all. The Waste Wizard also allows users to type in key words related to disposable household materials and receive valuable disposal tips. From aluminum cans and phone books to popcorn bags and plastic beverage bottles, the search tool helps residents determine which items can be recycled and which ones should be thrown away.

The PRCR Department will commemorate “National Physical Fitness Month” in May by offering a 50-Mile Walking Challenge for area residents ages 11 and older.
 
The concept is simple. The PRCR Department is challenging area residents to walk a total of 50 miles in May and use tracking cards to record their progress. Walking locations may include neighborhoods, schools, churches, parks and greenways - just to name a few.
 
There is no cost to participate, and online registration is open throughout April. The first 200 people to register will receive a free water bottle. Tracking cards are available for pickup at Joyner Park Community Center (JPCC), 701 Harris Road.
 
Everyone ages 11 and over who registers, completes 50 miles, and returns their tracking cards to JPCC by Thursday, June 3, will receive a commemorative t-shirt (while supplies last) and be entered into a June 4 prize drawing for a $50 Visa gift card. 

The Wake Forest Renaissance Centre (WFRC) will re-open for in-person events with Yolanda Rabun in concert on Friday, May 7. Until then, the WFRC continues to offer free online visual and performing arts experiences you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.

On Tuesday, April 27, from 7-7:45 p.m., Virginia Repertory Theatre will present Jack and the Beanstalk on the Renaissance Centre Facebook page.

Geared for children in grades K-5, Virginia Repertory Theatre's musical adaptation is a rollicking retelling of the classic fairy tale with book and lyrics by Douglas Jones and music by Ron Barnett. Join our modern-day young hero as he uses his imagination to become the famous Jack from the book he is reading. As he spins the tale of trading the family cow for three magic beans, we watch the giant beanstalk grow and let our imaginations soar as our hero climbs through the clouds to meet an ill-tempered giant, find fabulous treasures and more adventures than you can "shake a stalk at."

The Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources (PRCR) Department will accept youth volleyball applications for girls ages 9-16 from Thursday, April 1, through Friday, April 23. Late registration will be offered April 23-April 30. Register online
 
A participant’s eligibility is determined by her age on Sept. 1, 2021. A birth certificate is required for new participants. Age divisions include 9-10, 11-12 and 13-16. The fee is $60 for Wake Forest residents and $100 for non-Wake Forest residents.
 
Team placement, skills training and practices will begin in May. From early June through mid-July teams will likely play two games per week, Monday through Saturday, at the Flaherty Park Community Center, 1226 N. White St., and local school gymnasiums.
 
Volunteer coaches are needed. For more information, email Athletics Specialist KP Kilpatrick

The Wake Forest Area Chamber is hosting its first-ever Pickleball Open tournament on Saturday, May 1, at Flaherty Park, 1226 N. White St. Sponsored by Meals on Wheels of Wake County, more than 100 players have registered to play and compete in the day-long event. Spectators are invited to come and cheer on their favorite competitors. Play will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will last throughout the day. Simultaneously, there will be a play-for-fun category for ages 11 and up (under 16 must be accompanied by a partner aged 16 and up). The cost is $20, and no advance registration is necessary. Just show up on May 1 and sign up to play.
 
Along with the Pickleball Open, the Chamber Foundation is hosting its fourth annual Young Entrepreneurs Fair, sponsored by Blue Wave Pressure Washing. Students from age 9 to 14 have created products to be sold at the Fair. “Each year, we are amazed by the creativity and professionalism of the entrepreneurs,” said Ann Welton, Chamber president. “From candles, to bath and beauty products, to artwork, pet treats and more, the array of items is incredible. This is a great opportunity to support young people learning how to build a business, and perhaps buy gifts just in time for Mother’s Day!”
 
Not to be outdone by the Young Entrepreneurs, Chamber members interested in marketing their products and services to the community will be participating in an Outdoor Business Expo. A wide variety of businesses will have booths, giveaways, and will share information about their services. Refreshments will also be available. For more information, visit wakeforestchamber.org, or call 919-556-1519.

Provided below are announcements about projects that will impact Wake Forest motorists over the next several weeks. Please use the information to help plan your route and move safely through the affected areas. 
 
Now through Friday, April 30
Drivers should expect delays along the portion of South Main Street/US 1A from Forbes Road to Farm Road through Friday, April 30, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Neal Construction, a contractor working to develop Marlowe Retail, 1628 S. Main St., will reduce the roadway to two lanes by shifting southbound traffic and removing the center turn lane. The traffic shift and lane reduction are necessary to allow crews to locate and tie-in utilities as part of the Marlowe Retail project.
 
Signage, cones and barrels will be in place to manage traffic flow and safely direct motorists through the work area. Delays are expected, so motorists are encouraged to avoid the area if possible and take an alternate route.


Ongoing
Fred Smith Company, a private contractor working on the Forbes Planned Unit Development, will close Millers Mark Avenue at the intersection of Ligon Mill Road on Monday, Feb. 8. The closure is necessary to complete the widening of Ligon Mill Road and install the future median. The intersection is expected to remain closed until early April when traffic is shifted to a new traffic pattern. Until then, residents are advised to use Reynolds Mill Road or Forbes Road as an alternate route. 


Ongoing
Fred Smith Company, a contractor working on behalf of Wegmans, continues to periodically reduce to one lane portions of Dr. Calvin Jones Highway/NC 98 from Galaxy Way to Siena Drive. The temporary lane closures are necessary to allow crews to widen the roadway and install turn lanes for the future Wegman’s. The store will be situated on the south side of Dr. Calvin Jones Highway/NC 98 Bypass between US 1/Capital Boulevard and Siena Drive, just west of Ligon Mill Road.

The Town of Wake Forest has launched an interactive map that gives residents a user-friendly and convenient way to view local road closures and restrictions. Accessible under “Common Resources” on the homepage of the Town website, the new Traffic Alerts Map allows visitors to point and click on current road and lane closures throughout Wake Forest.

When clicking on an individual project, the user will see a short summary of the exact location of the project, along with a schedule for its anticipated beginning and completion. In addition, the user will be provided with the name and contact information for the project manager should anyone have questions about a given initiative. The information is updated in real-time as the project moves forward.

On Wednesday, April 21, Gov. Roy Cooper said he intends to lift all pandemic restrictions in North Carolina by June 1, including capacity restrictions at indoor restaurants, bars and concert venues, as well as limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

In addition, he said we would not remove the statewide mask mandate unless two-thirds of adults get vaccinated by June 1. Then he might lift mask updates in outdoor spaces.

He said he will issue a new order next week outlining safety restrictions for May. The current order expires Friday, April 30.

Mayor Vivian Jones recently recorded a virtual State of the Town address that includes colorful video and photo highlights from the past year.

In her message, Mayor Jones provides a comprehensive update on the Town's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, accomplishments over the last 12 months, and what’s to come in 2021. She also shares details on infrastructure projects, communications initiatives, parks and recreation programs, town finances, how to support local businesses and more. 

Mayor Jones' 2021 State of the Town address is available on the Town website and airs on WFTV 10 daily at 8 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.
 
The March-August 2021 issue of RecConnect, the Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department's program brochure, is now available. Click on the image above to view the latest edition in digital format. RecConnect is also available in Adobe Acrobat Format (PDF).
 
Free printed copies of RecConnect are available at Joyner Park Community Center, 701 Harris Road, Town Hall, 301 S. Brooks St., Alston-Massenburg Center, 416 N. Taylor St., and Flaherty Park Community Center, 1226 N. White St.
 
RecConnect includes information about all programs, classes, special events, sports programs and registrations offered by the Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department. To learn more, call 919-435-9560 or visit us online.

The Northern Wake Senior Center, 235 E. Holding Ave., offers adults age 55 and older a full schedule of recreational activities. Programming at the center is provided by Resources for Seniors, Inc. The organization serves senior and disabled adults in Wake County by providing home and community-based services and information, thereby allowing them to maximize their choices for independence, comfort, safety, security and well-being.

Check out Jennie's Weekly Jots, the senior center's weekly newsletter, for information on current programming and initiatives.
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