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.

Kids Say the Cutest Things is back, and this time they're talking about the harmful effects of litter. Please join these kids and the Town of Wake Forest in the fight against litter by properly disposing of your trash and encouraging others to do the same!

In the words of one of these kids, "Be a good citizen," and #KeepWFClean.

On Friday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina will no longer require masks and social distancing. All current indoor and outdoor capacity restrictions in the state have also been lifted.

The update to the mask mandate follows new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which on Thursday updated its guidelines for fully vaccinated people. The state will still require mask use by all people in public schools, healthcare settings, on public transit and prisons.

The NC Department of Health and Human Services continues to strongly urge people who are unvaccinated to continue wearing masks, but masks will no longer be required by law.

PLEASE NOTE: The Town of Wake Forest will announce next week its plans for hosting in-person events.

On Monday, Moody’s Investors Service joined Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Fitch Ratings Services in assigning a triple A rating to the Town of Wake Forest’s $1.3 million General Obligation (GO) Public Improvement Bonds, Series 2021A and $4.9 million General Obligation Public Improvement Bonds, Series 2021B. This marks the first time in its history that Wake Forest has received a triple A rating – the best possible – by all three national credit rating agencies.

“This is incredibly exciting news for Wake Forest,” said Chief Financial Officer Aileen Staples. “This (triple A rating from all three ratings agencies) has been something we have been working towards for a long time. Its achievement aligns with Goal 4 in our Strategic Plan – Fiscal Strength - which is a direct result of our strong financial policies, cautious and conservative fiscal planning and prudent budgetary monitoring. A triple A rating by all three agencies is a significant accomplishment which acknowledges our strong fiscal position and one of which we can all be proud.”

Moody’s upgraded the Town's general obligation bond rating to Aaa from Aa1, affecting approximately $18.2 million in publicly held outstanding debt, the Town also has $6.9 million in privately placed general obligation debt outstanding.

Wake Forest is now one of only 13 municipalities in North Carolina and one of 172 in the United States to attain the Aaa rating from Moody’s.

Originally scheduled to take effect today, several important traffic pattern changes are now scheduled to take effect Tuesday, May 18, in the vicinity of the soon-to-open Wegmans, specifically along the new Ligon Mill Road Extension and Forbes Grove Way. Check out the video to learn more or continue reading.

Holding Park Aquatic Center (HPAC) will open for the 2021 season Saturday, May 29, at 9 a.m. Located at 133 W. Owen Ave., the HPAC features a six-lane, 25-yard lap pool, two water slides with plunge pool and children’s pool with water play. Open during the summer months, the facility offers swimming to the public, as well as swim lessons.

Daily admission fees for Wake Forest residents are $1 for children ages 2 and under; $4 for children ages 3-13; and $5 for patrons ages 13-59; and $4 for ages 60 and over. Daily admission fees for non-Wake Forest residents are $2 for children ages 2 and under; $6 for children ages 3-13; and $7 for patrons ages 13-59; and $6 for ages 60 and over.

Due to COVID-19, the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources (PRCR) Department will implement a series of safety procedures at HPAC similar to those introduced last year. For example, open swim times will be scheduled in three-hour blocks, with one hour in between to allow staff to clean and sanitize the facility, including deck chairs, door handles, hand rails and other high-touch areas.

In addition, a maximum of 160 patrons will be allowed inside the facility during each session. Patrons must register and pay for each session in advance online, and no walk-ins will be allowed.

Online registration begins Saturday, May 15. Patrons may register for a particular swim session up to 10 days but no less than two hours in advance. When a session is full, registration for that session is closed. Again, the window to register for a particular session closes two hours before the session begins. To register and pay in advance and view the full list of safety procedures, visit our website.

The Wake Forest Town Hall and other administrative offices will be closed Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day.

Wake Forest Bus Service, along with curbside trash, recycling and yard waste collection will also be suspended.

Wake Forest Bus Service, including the Wake Forest-Raleigh Express and the Wake Forest Loop, will resume its normal schedule Tuesday, June 1.
During the week of May 31, the trash and recycling collection schedule will operate one day later than normal and extend into Saturday. So, for example, Monday’s route will be collected Tuesday and Friday’s route will be collected Saturday.

Yard waste collection will resume Tuesday, June 1, at 7 a.m. Crews will follow the normal collection schedule beginning with Monday’s route. Collection of the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday routes will occur throughout the remainder of the week until all routes have been completed.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the Town of Wake Forest relaxed a number of temporary sign enforcement activities over the past year in an effort to support Wake Forest businesses during the pandemic. Now that conditions are improving and North Carolina’s restrictions are being loosened, the Town will resume all temporary sign enforcement regulations effective July 1, 2021.
 
A key component in the effort to ensure signage does not become a public hazard, public nuisance, or traffic hazard, signage enforcement also serves to protect and enhance the overall appearance of Wake Forest. Information related to permitted sign types are outlined in Chapter 11 of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
 
Also during the pandemic, businesses may have introduced temporary creative solutions to increase their outdoor seating capacity, create customer pick-up zones, or implement other ways to address their needs. Beginning July 1, Planning staff will begin to contact these businesses and property owners to discuss transitioning away from these temporary measures.
 
Businesses or property owners wishing to make the changes permanent are urged to contact the Planning Department at 919-435-9510 to determine whether the modifications are possible and, if so, initiate the approval process. The process typically takes several weeks to complete, so anyone considering making temporary changes permanent is urged to begin the process now. 

Town Manager Kip Padgett presented the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget to the Board of Commissioners for consideration on Tuesday, May 4. Designed to reflect the goals and strategies outlined in the Town’s strategic plan, the budget will serve as the financial and spending plan for the period and, once adopted, authorize resources and establish a direction for Wake Forest programs and services for the coming year.

The proposed budget includes no change in the property tax rate ($0.495 per $100 of assessed property valuation), $0.14 downtown municipal service district tax ($0.14 per $100 assessed property valuation) residential solid waste fee ($21/month), or vehicle fee ($25). The budget also proposes 10 new full-time positions, eight of which will support the Police Department.
The public is invited to view a digital copy of the proposed budget online from now until Tuesday, May 18. On that date, a public hearing is scheduled during the regular Board of Commissioners meeting to receive public comment. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Board Chambers, 301 S. Brooks St.

Final budget approval by the Board of Commissioners is scheduled for the June 15 meeting.

May is Preservation Month, and the Historic Preservation Program (HPP) is offering several ways for residents to celebrate and learn more about Wake Forest history, including two free webinars, a scavenger hunt, virtual tours, and coloring pages of locally significant historic sites. Complete information about these opportunities is provided on the Town website.

Throughout May, residents are invited to participate in the Preservation Month Scavenger Hunt. Ten pictures of local Wake Forest historic features are highlighted. Everyone who takes pictures of themselves in front of all 10 historic features and uploads the photos through the online form will be entered into a drawing for a $20 gift card to Lumpy’s Ice Cream.

In addition, the HPP is partnering with the Wake Forest Historical Museum to offer the following free Zoom webinars:

“Adventures with Old Houses” on Tuesday, May 11, at 6:30 p.m., will feature Wake Forest Historical Museum Director Ed Morris and a few long-time residents of the Wake Forest Local Historic District sharing stories about historic home ownership.

“The Story Map of the Northeast Community in Wake Forest” on Tuesday, May 25, at 6:30 p.m., will offer an introduction and overview of this important preservation project and feature a discussion with Senior Planner (Historic Preservation) Michelle Michael, and University of Georgia MLA Candidate Chris Robey.

The public is invited to attend these Zoom webinars online or by phone. There is no cost to participate, but registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department is accepting team registrations for Church Co-Rec Adult Softball throughout May. Online registration will be available. The entry fee is $550 per team, and participants must be 18 or older.

Games will begin in mid-June and be played on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Anyone interested in participating who does not have a team can sign up as a free agent, then assigned to a team in need of players. To register as a free agent, visit the Free Agent page on our website and complete the online registration form.
 
The Wake Forest Police Department recently launched a video series that highlights the "human" side of law enforcement. Each Friday over the next several weeks, we'll share a new Ask A Cop video featuring members of the WFPD discussing topics ranging from "hobbies" and "traffic stops" to "outreach programs" and "longest day on the job."
 
Today's "Ask A Cop" episode invites officers to share how old they were when they decided to become a police officer and what motivated them to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Several members of the Wake Forest Police Department are raising money for NC Special Olympics and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics by participating in Mustache May.

Throughout the month of May, participating officers and staff will encourage community members to donate to Special Olympics and the nearly 40,000 registered athletes who train and compete year-round in 20 different sports. Each participant has a fundraising goal of at least $50, and several will grow a mustache to show their support.

For more information about “Mustache May,” to view participant photos, or to donate to a particular participant’s fundraising effort, visit our website.

The Wake Forest Area Chamber Foundation is sponsoring a new initiative created specifically for area residents aged 55+. Connect Wake Forest is a four-week program designed to connect residents with like-minded peers, while they learn about the history and growth of Wake Forest, discover ways to get involved in the town, and become more civically aware. At the end of the program, participants will be given opportunities to volunteer with existing organizations and launch new community initiatives, including an intergenerational mentorship program. Connect Wake Forest is open to both residents and non-residents of Wake Forest. The program will run twice a year with 25 participants per cohort. 

The program cost is $250 per person for Wake Forest residents and $300 for non-residents. Scholarships are available. To apply for a scholarship, click here!

The application deadline is Monday, May 31. Click here to apply!

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. 
 
May 11-29
Fred Smith Company, a contractor working at the future Legacy at Heritage, will periodically reduce to one lane with alternating two-way traffic the portion of Heritage Lake Road from Friendship Chapel Road to Dr. Calvin Jones Highway/NC 98 Bypass Tuesday, May 11, through Saturday, May 29, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. The periodic lane closures are necessary to allow crews to tap the existing water main.

Signage and flaggers will be in place to manage traffic flow and safely direct motorists through the work area. Delays are expected, so motorists may wish to avoid the area 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.

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

The new site offers 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.”

The NRC operates according to the following schedule:

  • 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 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 - THIS SESSION IS FULL
  • 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 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 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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If you have questions or comments about the Town of Wake Forest website or E-News, please contact Bill Crabtree by email or call 919-435-9421.