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Parks, Greenways, and Recreation Commission (Virtual Meeting)

  • Date: 05/18/2020 7:00 PM  
  • Location: Online Only, See additional information below


The Commission will meet virtually at 7:00 p.m. Monday, May 18, 2020 to conduct a special meeting to cover the items on the agenda below. Board members will attend and participate in this meeting remotely, through internet access, and will not physically attend. The Town will not provide a physical location for viewing the meeting.

The public is invited to attend the Zoom webinar directly online or by phone. Register for this webinar: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar in listen-only mode. Phone: 301-715-8592 Meeting ID: 870 6443 3738

Public Comment
  • Verbal Comments: Members of the public may sign up to speak when they register for the meeting. Please do so at least three-hours in advance, so we can compile the information in time for the meeting. At the appropriate time, the Chair will provide attendees the option to use the raise the hand function or *9 via phone to indicate your desire to speak on the topic. Individuals who have preregistered, followed by those with a ‘raised hand’ will then be brought into the public portion of the meeting one at a time.
  • Written Comments: Public comment may be submitted prior to the meetings, provided to the board members and posted with the meeting materials.
After the Meeting Meeting Contact:
  • Email:
  • Phone: 919-968-2750



7:00 P.M., Monday, May 18, 2020

Virtual Meeting

Chapel Hill, NC


Roll Call: Renuka Soll (Chair), Wesley McMahon (Vice Chair), Linda Alexander, Alice Armstrong (Orange County Representative), Jeanette Bench, William Kaiser, Lydia Kivihya-Ndugga, Jochen Schwarz, and Guthrie Richardson (Youth Council Representative)

7:00 p.m.       1.  Welcome and Roll Call – Chair

7:05 p.m.       2.  Approval of Minutes (February 18, 2020)

7:10 p.m.       3.  Communications and Petitions from Commission and Staff

7:20 p.m.       4. Questions and Petitions from the Public in Attendance – Chair

7:25 p.m.      5.   Liaison reports

7:45 p.m.      6.   COVID-19 Department Response – Phil Fleischmann and Linda Smith

8:00 p.m.      7.   Greenways and Sidepaths Project Update – Marcia Purvis

  • Bolin Creek Trail – Coal Ash Remediation, Bridge Repairs and Art Project
  • Booker Creek – Art Project
  • Fordham Sidepath Project – Traffic Calming Concepts
  • Morgan Creek Trail – East, West and Bartram Bridge Sections

 8:15 p.m.       8.  Parks Project Update- Marcia Purvis

  • Cedar Falls - Parking Lot, Tennis Courts
  • Burlington and North Forest Hills Parks – Playground Replacement

 8:30 p.m.       9.  Adjourn







 3. Communications and Petitions from Commission and Staff:

A. Greene Tract: The Planning Department is planning to hold a single meeting for all Town advisory board members. We will notify everyone once the date is finalized.

B. Future Land Use Map: After the Town Council Meeting on Wednesday, May 6, Alisa Duffy Rogers, Project Manager was asked to transmit the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) documents electronically to all Town advisory boards and commissions to review. If after receiving the documents, Boards and Commission members want to discuss with Alisa in non-quorum groups she will be available to arrange.

C. Parks, Greenways and Recreation Commission Appointments Update: On April 22, the Town Council extended the term expirations for existing advisory board and commission members from June 30, 2020 to November 30, 2020. When a member is reappointed in the fall, the period between June 30 and November 30 is included as a part of their next full term. The applications currently on file will be held through June 30, 2021, after which the Town Clerk will revert to holding applications for one fiscal year. The Town Manager will provide the advisory boards with a revised timeline and process in the fall.

D. Council Action regarding Cemeteries: On March 4, 2020 the Town Council amended Chapter 12, Article II of the Town Code of Ordinances to modify the Membership and Charge of the of the Parks, Greenways and Recreation Commission concerning the Cemeteries Champion Seat and interests. Specifically, the Council removed the requirement that one of the Commission’s nine seats serve as a designated cemeteries champion and charged the body with advising the Council and staff on the maintenance and interests of the cemetery facilities.

E. American Legion Property: A memo from Parks & Recreation and Public Works Departments was provided to the Manager’s Office on May 8, 2020 and later shared with the Town Council. Included in the memo are recommendations that the Town not plan to use the larger assembly building given the scope and costs of renovations needed there, and that the Town enter into a lease agreement to allow the current tenant of the building, a dance studio operator, to be able to continue operations in the smaller building.

Consistent with the above, a lease agreement has been drafted and approved by Legal and discussions with the dance provider continue. Authorization for the Manager to negotiate and execute the lease agreement is anticipated to be on the Consent agenda at Council’s May 20 meeting.

5. Liaison Reports:

Commission liaisons may make a report on topics of interest to the entire Commission:

  • Community Design Commission - McMahon
  • Community Tree Committee - Kaiser
  • Cultural Arts Commission - Kivihya-Ndugga
  • Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board - Bench
  • Friends of Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation McMahon/Alexander
  • Orange County Parks/Recreation Council - Armstrong
  • Planning Commission - Bench
  • Transportation & Connectivity Advisory Board - Soll

 6. COVID-19 Department Response

 A presentation providing an overview of this topic will be shared during the meeting.

Capital Improvement Program Update: Following are brief updates. Commission members should feel free contact staff if you have any questions or comments.

7. Greenways and Sidepaths Projects - Progress

Bolin Creek Trail (East of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.): Construction started in early January 2020. The portion of the Bolin Creek trail between Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Bolinwood Dr. has been temporarily closed for a 3-4-week period so that coal ash remediation can occur. Temporary chain link fencing and signage were installed to keep trail users out of the area. A detour using Hillsborough St. and Bolinwood Dr. is available during the closure.

Once this work is completed, the contractor will move on to replace wood decking and railings on two of the bridges on the trail. This work will take approximately two weeks to complete. There is an existing trail route that the public can use to bypass the area where the first bridge is located. The second bridge is located between Bolinwood Drive and the Community Center. The contractor is investigating installing a temporary bridge on-site during construction. If we are unable to use the temporary bridge in this location, this section of the trail would need to be closed to the public. We may also need to consider postponing the bridge repairs to a time when Bolin Creek Greenway use is less active. The contractor will be providing us with a cost estimate for remobilizing in case the temporary bridge is not an option, and this section of the trail is not accessible.

More information will be provided to the public once the timeframe of bridge repairs is known and if there is any closure of the trail. Work should be complete this summer, barring any unusual problems such as a significant storm. Please see Bolin Creek Trail Phase 3A Construction | Town of Chapel Hill, NC webpage.

Additionally, Community Arts & Culture is managing a public art project to add murals which will be visible as trail users approach the connector from either side of the trail at Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. A celebration featuring all the improvements will be planned for a future date.

Booker Creek Trail Art Project - Community Arts & Culture is managing the installation of murals on six manholes along Booker Creek Trail which are visible from East Franklin St. Community engagement will be a part of the design process used by the artist. Completion of the project is anticipated this summer. The project was the idea of the Parks, Greenways, and Recreation Commission members and Adopt-a-Trail group who continue to support and advise on the effort.

Fordham Sidepath Project: Parks and Recreation Department Staff is working with Transportation and Planning Staff to post concept plans later this month to receive input from stakeholders and the public regarding traffic calming solutions. Traffic calming ideas were suggested through community input and at the Town Council meeting on March 4, 2020. The Council authorized the design of the sidepath project being built within the NC Department of Transportation right-of-way from Ridgefield Road to Willow Drive. Staff was directed to continue to work to advance the goals of maximizing safety for path users, minimizing vegetative loss and maximizing noise abatement. A public meeting may be held this summer to update community members on the project progress and respond to comments received through the project website. More information can be found on the Fordham Boulevard Sidepath Project | Town of Chapel Hill, NC webpage.

Morgan Creek Trail Projects: We continue to explore phasing options of the West, East, and Bartram Bridge projects and have requested an Opinion of Probable Cost for all three phases of construction from Stewart, the design firm working on the Morgan Creek projects. This information will help the Department in determining design and construction priorities and the funding that would be necessary for each section of the trail.

We are continuing to work with UNC and the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools to acquire needed easements. The design plans for the Western and Eastern sections are approximately 65% complete. We have also agreed with UNC to locate the bridge on UNC Botanical Garden property. A public meeting was held on January 14, 2020. There were 38 attendees. All of those who spoke were in favor of building the bridge. Some questions were raised. The staff will work with the NC Botanical Garden staff to address the issues. More information can be found on the Morgan Creek Trail (Phase 3) | Town of Chapel Hill, NC webpage, and on the Morgan Creek Bridge Project | Town of Chapel Hill, NC webpage.

8. Parks Projects - Progress

Cedar Falls Parking Lot Repairs: During the park closure, a contractor completed grading and added new stone to the parking lot at Cedar Falls Park. The intent of these repairs was to address potholes and to improve drainage

Cedar Falls Tennis Court Reconstruction: We continue to explore options to be able to move this project forward. Draft plans are available on the Town’s Cedar Falls Tennis Court project website for review and comment. Please see Cedar Falls Park Tennis Courts Renovation Project | Town of Chapel Hill, NC webpage.

Playground Improvements - Burlington Park and North Forest Hills Park: The department had $50,000 in FY20 PayGO funding earmarked for the replacement of playground amenities at Burlington and/or North Forest Hills Parks. In early March, the Town solicited equipment removal, purchase, and installation proposals from companies that supply these services with a Summer target date for project completion. On April 27, we received two bids, both of which are within budget. Parks and Recreation staff has also contacted community members involved in the public engagement process to request further assistance with the evaluation and selection of the vendor's playground equipment proposals. A final determination has not yet been made on the Town’s ability to proceed with these projects during the current fiscal year.


Greenways Updates

The Commission has asked for an agenda item to cover:

  • Provide status on current and near-term projects. Include Estes Drive, Morgan Creek, and Ephesus Church Road.
  • List of current greenways and trails.
  • Identification of what is missing (as noted in Greenway and/or Mobility plans).
  • Possible options for funding, any partners / groups pushing for specific connections.
  • Potential Orange County Trail (McMahon)
  • Provide information on where to monitor NCDOT projects and working with Transportation Board.

Greenways Topics Covered So Far:

  • Blue Hill District Sidepaths and Trails
  • Lower Booker Creek
  • South of Fordham Boulevard (Morgan Creek and Fan Branch Trails)
  • Bolin Creek and Horace Williams Trails

Other Topics

  • Teen Center Tour with Commission in January or February
  • Open Space Data – How much do we have in comparison to other communities? Where are there gaps?
  • Greene Tract Presentation (All advisory boards, Planning)
  • Bus Rapid Transit
  • Eastown Project
  • Rails to Trails
  • Future Land Use Map (FLUM) Update
  • Sponsorships
  • Departmental Business Plan
  • Parks Master Plan Overview
  • Greenways Master Plan Overview
  • Sidewalk Maintenance


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