At its Nov. 20 meeting, the Holly Springs Town Council made progress toward becoming a Tree City USA town by creating a Tree Advisory Committee.
As described by the Arbor Day Foundation, the Tree City USA program is a nationwide movement that provides the framework for communities to manage and expand public trees. Creating the Holly Springs Tree Advisory Committee fulfills one of the foundation's standards that will allow the town to be nominated to become part of the Tree City USA program.
The committee will provide the town assistance with:
- planning an annual Arbor Day event
- guidance about how Holly Springs can maintain good standing with Tree City USA standards
- recommendations on methodology for expenditure of funds for the Street Tree Replacement Program
- recommendations on methodology and criteria for the removal of diseased street trees (those planted between sidewalks and town streets) or perimeter yard landscapes (those that provide town-required buffers between different developments)
- review and recommendations on updates to the town's tree maintenance guidelines and preferred tree selection criteria
- public information initiatives helping residents understand the importance and need for tree preservation and maintenance.
Members of the committee include Rachel Woods, Joe Fuller, Amanda Matheny, Katherine Penton and Gary Claiborne. Bridget Freeh was appointed as a junior/young adult ex-officio member, and Councilwoman Christine Kelly also will serve as an ex-officio member.
Also at the meeting, the council moved forward with a project budget and contracts for constructing the Sportsmanship Way connection to the N.C. 55 bypass. The superstreet connection includes traffic signals and allows vehicles to turn right and left into Ting Park from the bypass. Vehicles exiting the park will be able to turn right and either continue on the bypass toward Sunset Lake Road or make a U turn to head toward Holly Springs Road. The town and N.C. Department of Transportation are sharing construction costs.
The council also approved funding for bicycle safety road improvements along portions of Green Oaks Parkway, New Hill Road and Old Holly Springs Apex Road. The town plans to install "share the road" signs and lane markings along about two miles of roads each year.
The council awarded a contract to replace the town's community development software, which primarily involves the Code Enforcement, Planning & Zoning and Engineering departments. Deficiencies in the current software, apparent for a long time, were confirmed through a third-party software study, which recommended to replace the software. The new software will enable the town to better leverage technology to automate processes, improve work flows, improve communications, and improve the ability of citizens and customers to interact and do business with the town.
Mayor Dick Sears presented Citizen of the Year Jimmy Cobb with a proclamation commemorating his being named Citizen of the Year by the Holly Springs Citizen of the Year Committee and recognizing his service to the community. Cobb was honored for his service with the town, including terms on the Holly Springs Town Council, Board of Adjustment and Planning Board. A founding board member and treasurer of the Holly Springs Food Cupboard, Cobb is past president and treasurer of Kiwanis Club of Holly Springs. He volunteers at Kids Appreciation Day, with the Haunted Hayride, and more.