TCC Coffee Chat with Town of Wake Forest

The Triangle Community Coalition had another successful Coffee Chat with Town of Wake Forest on Wednesday, May 10, 2017!

Joining our members in an informal chat were Mayor Vivian Jones, Commissioner Margaret Stinnett, Commissioner Anne Reeve, Commissioner Jim Thompson, Town Manager Kip Padgett, Communications & Public Affairs Director Bill Crabtree, Downtown Development Director Lisa Hayes, Inspections Director JJ Carr, Parks & Rec Director Ruben Wall, Planning Director Chip Russell, Engineering Director Eric Keravuori and Economic Development Director Jason Cannon.

We provided the Town of Wake Forest with a better perspective of the Triangle Community Coalition's goal to be a proactive partner in growth and land use issues and to work with senior staff and elected officials to develop policies, regulations, and procedures to encourage economic development, produce predictable (yet flexible) outcomes for all stakeholders, and protect the community's interests. 

The Town of Knightdale appreciated the TCC’s ability to offer objective facts and information in efforts to improve public policy debates and create effective working relationships between the business community and local government.  We had some great interaction with the TCC membership in attendance and had opportunity to talk about the following:

Mayor Vivian Jones:

         ·         Wake Forest continues to grow

         ·         Encouraged the development community to come to Wake Forest

Commissioner Anne Reeve:

·        Only complaint she hears about from residents is regarding traffic

Commissioner Margaret Stinnett:

·        Town recently tweaked UDO

·        Development process is streamline to embrace and guide growth

Director of Engineering Eric Keravuori: 

         ·         Capital Projects: street rehabilitation in town

  1. Connection Royal Mill Ave to White Street
  2. Connection of Forest Drive to Southern Wake Forest
  3. Connection of Foundation Drive with Heritage High School

Director of Planning Chip Russell:
·        Staffing is an issue at this time

·        Hired Brendie Vega from Town of Apex as new Assistant Planning Director

·        Hired Tim Clark - worked with Wake County

·        Should fill one more position within 30 days

·        New projects have slowed down

·        More non-residential

·        Current population is 42K with a buildout of 70K

·        75k in labor force within a 10 mile radius

·        Merged with Raleigh for water and sewer and has access to 4 million more gallons of water per day

·        Developable/available land – 40% can be developed

 Communications & Public Affairs Director Bill Crabtree:
·        Wake Forest offers many family events

  1. Friday night on White had over 12,000 people attend
  2. Business owners on main street noted new business after event
  3. Working on communication tool to reach out to WF residents

Downtown Development Director Lisa Hayes:
·        White Street Brewery Company noted business is up.  Out of 7000 people, 3500 are new patrons

·        Smaller business are basically the same over the years

·        5 properties out of 200 are available downtown. Only lease from original owners are available to rent

·        Downtown Development- renewed interest of urban living feel

  1. 2 townhome projects to include 60 & 80 units

·        Working on Economic Development

  1. Partner with Arts Groups and Chamber Groups
  2. Large demand for office space

Inspections Director JJ Carr:

·        Still doing next day inspections

·        300 new apartments and 600 single family in 2017

·        68 residential units inspected in the month of April

·        Electronic plan review/submittal in the budget for next year

·        WF currently testing the electronic plan review now

·        Schools are currently at adequate levels with 18 public schools, 5 Charter and 4 private

·        WF High Schools are in many areas; Raleigh, Rolesville, Enloe and SE Raleigh

 Parks & Rec Director Ruben Wall:

·        Growth in athletic program

·        1000 children in basketball league

·        New projects include a new Pickleball court that will be ready by Memorial Day 2017

·        Taylor Street Park

·        Holding Park – 1st sprayground in Wake Forest

·        Greenway expansions – adding fitness equipment along greenways

·        New community swimming pool will be finished summer 2018

·        Joyner Park - new community center in 2019

·        Hired someone to oversee programs for special needs

Economic Development Director Jason Cannon:

·        Retail development – lowest rental vacancy in the Triangle

·        Working closely with business property owners to have properties ready – 140 acres

·        News re: industrial development coming soon

·        Existing industrial park is full except for one building

·        Plans to rejuvenate Technology Park