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.

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.
A towering willow oak tree aptly nicknamed “Broccolini” is the Wake Forest 2021 Tree of the Year.
Located on the Brooks Street side of the Northern Wake Senior Center, 235 E. Holding Ave., the “majestic” tree was the runaway winner in this week’s voting. Of the nearly 400 votes cast, “Broccolini” received 141 votes, followed by a “beautiful” tulip magnolia along the 500 block of North College Street with 85 votes and a “magnificent” willow oak at Holding Park with 81 votes.
As the person who submitted the winning tree, Hannah Huggins will receive a certificate crowning her tree as the Wake Forest 2021 Tree of the Year.
The Town of Wake Forest wishes to thank everyone who submitted a tree for consideration and voted in this year’s contest. The Urban Forestry Division plans to offer the competition again next year. To view the full photo gallery of 2021 Tree of the Year submissions, visit http://bit.ly/WFTreeofYear. For more information, email Urban Forestry Coordinator Luke Devores

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 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.

May is National Bike and Motorcycle Safety month. 

With warmer weather, it’s time to remind everyone to be alert and share the road with bicyclists and motorcyclists. There are many ways to celebrate, whether you’re riding for fun, fitness or taking essential trips to work or shop. But whether or not you get on bike or motorcycle, make sure to obey the rules of the road and always wear protective gear. For more information, visit ncdot.gov/bikeped.
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" is a special two-for-one episode in which officers describe their longest day on the job then share their wish for residents to view them "beyond the uniform."

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. 
Week of May 10
During the week of May 10, drivers should expect delays along South Main Street/US 1A from Forbes Road to Selsey Drive each day from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Town crews 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 repair the sidewalk.

Signage and cones 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 if possible and take an alternate route.

Week of May 10
During the week of May 10, the Town of Wake Forest will begin the process of converting to one-way traffic the portion of Wait Avenue from South Brooks Street to Roosevelt Avenue.

In December, the Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance converting the street from two-way to one-way traffic and incorporating diagonal parking similar to the existing one-way sections of East Jones between South White Street and South Taylor Street. The conversion will allow for the installation of approximately 15 new parking spaces in the downtown area.

Beginning next week, Public Works crews will begin installing signage and traffic control measures to prepare drivers for the change. Crews will then begin painting angled and parallel parking along the corridor and make final changes for the one-way pattern.

Motorists are advised that the street may be closed periodically during the conversion which is expected to be completed by late May.

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.

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. 

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.

Taylor Street Park Sprayground, 416 N. Taylor St., is now open and operating 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.

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 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.
Latest Executive Order relaxes State’s outdoor mask mandate & eases mass gathering limits

Gov. Roy Cooper recently signed an Executive Order outlining safety measures for the month of May. Executive Order No. 209 took effect April 30, at 5 p.m. and is set to expire June 1.

As more North Carolinians get vaccinated and adhere to safety protocols over the course of the next month, the state anticipates lifting more restrictions June 1.

Under the new Executive Order, masks will still be required indoors but are no longer mandated outdoors. Masks are still strongly recommended outdoors by NC DHHS in crowded areas and higher risk settings where social distancing is difficult.

Executive Order No. 209 will also increase mass gathering capacity limits. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 50 to 100 and the number of people who may gather outdoors will increase from 100 to 200. Occupancy limits currently in place will remain the same.
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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