Local governing boards approve new library and cultural center for Carrboro
Separate votes by the Carrboro Town Council and the Orange County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, gave final approval to a new Orange County Southern Branch Library and Cultural Center for Carrboro.
The $41.1 million joint project will be located at 203 S. Greensboro Street, an existing Carrboro municipal parking lot near the center of the town.
The library will serve residents in or near southern Orange County. The facility will also provide a permanent home for the Orange County Skills Development Center; Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Department; WCOM Radio, the Virtual Justice Center; and performance/multipurpose uses.
The vote follows a long-term collaboration between Carrboro and Orange County, engagement with residents, boards and commissions, and design and planning work.
“We are thrilled to reach this milestone, and we look forward to the groundbreaking,” Mayor Damon Seils said. “This project is the result of a close partnership between Carrboro and Orange County and extensive public involvement over many years. We can all celebrate the role the project will play in promoting literacy, education, and cultural opportunities for the entire community."
The groundbreaking ceremony will be scheduled in May 2022.
“The library is more than a place of books,” said Renee Price, Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners (BOCC). “It’s a resource, and it’s more than just for children. It’s for people who don’t have all the amenities at home.”
Price credited the strong partnership with the Town of Carrboro with bringing the project to fruition. “It’s all of us working together for the betterment of our community,” she said. “It’s a place where we can equalize so many of our differences because it’s a place of meeting, of coming together. We need places where people can come together.”
Proceeding with the 203 Project will allow the County to provide much needed amenities for the surrounding Orange County and Carrboro community. The library and skills development center will enhance the opportunity to uplift and improve the lives of all who embrace and utilize these resources.
The March 15, 2022, approval followed discussions that came about when a construction estimate showed that the project was significantly over budget. Project managers attributed the escalation of construction costs to the unprecedented supply chain disruptions and labor shortages associated with the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.
“We are excited to partner with the Town to expand existing library services in Carrboro,” said Erin Sapienza, interim director of the Orange County Public Library. “And once the Southern Branch is open, we look forward to working with other local community organizations to offer creative services and experiences for all county residents.”
The agreement between the Town and County calls for each government to contribute in the amounts of $18.9 million from Carrboro and $22.2 million from Orange County.
With the following financial arrangement
- The total project cost including design; construction; furnishings, fixtures and equipment; and contingency is $41,174,840.
- The Town of Carrboro will contribute $18.9 million. The Town will use debt financing to cover the majority of the project with $6.3 million from its cash reserves.
- The Town of Carrboro is providing the land.
- Orange County will contribute $22.2 million. In addition to debt financing for the majority of the project, the BOCC agreed to use $3 million from its cash reserves.
- Carrboro and Orange County will cover their own costs for furniture, fixtures and equipment.
- The first year of library operations could cost $537,670. Annual operating costs for the Carrboro’s portion of facility programming is estimated at $80,000.
- project has received an Orange County Community Climate Action Grant of $40,568 for solar and green roof features.
- The project also has received a Duke Energy Smart Saver Custom Energy Efficiency Incentive in amount of $48,552.
With community benefits, including
- Orange County Southern Branch Library
- Orange County Skills Development Center
- Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Department
- Additionally, the center will also house WCOM Radio, the Virtual Justice Center, and performance/multipurpose uses.
- Opportunities for education, art, and connection. This building will be accessible to all individuals and will enhance the quality of life in our area.
With the following accessibility
- The current town-owned parking lot at 203 S. Greensboro St., across from Open Eye Café, currently has 88 parking spaces. Upon completion, the new facility will include a parking deck with 171 parking spaces. About 70 bike parking spots are also planned for the site.
- The Town is acquiring additional parking leases to help ensure that there is no loss of parking during construction. These leases will be finalized, and lots improved before the start of construction.
- The new center will be accessible from Chapel Hill Transit bus routes CW, F, and J routes, the Go Triangle 405 route, a soon-to-be-built sidewalk along S. Greensboro Street, and the Libba Cotten Bikeway.
- The new center also will be near the recently announced home of The Arts Center on Roberson Street and the existing Carrboro Century Center at Greensboro and E. Main streets.
For more information, contact:
Town of Carrboro
Communication and Engagement Director
Catherine Lazorko at email@example.com
Community Relations Director
Todd McGee at firstname.lastname@example.org
2022 Jacquelyn Gist Summer Apprenticeship in the Arts
The Carrboro Arts Committee is offering an award of up to $1,000 to assist emerging young artists in developing their talent through the Jacquelyn Gist Summer Apprenticeship in the Arts program. A total of up to three (3) apprenticeships are available.
Purpose: To encourage and support emerging young artists who are residents of Orange County by facilitating a summer apprenticeship with an Orange County artist or arts organization.
Eligibility: Apprenticeships are available to rising high school juniors and seniors, graduating seniors, as well as college students and those who have graduated from college within the past year.
Applicants must live in Orange County. Carrboro residents will be given priority consideration. Applicants must have an interest in the arts (visual arts, performing arts, arts administration, etc.) and have secured an apprenticeship with an Orange County artist or arts organization. The apprenticeship must be for at least 15 hours a week for at least 5 weeks. Students who may need assistance finding a local artist or arts organization may contact email@example.com
An online application is available at https://www.townofcarrboro.org/FormCenter/Recreation-Parks-Department-3/Summer-Apprenticeship-Application-166
Deadline: April 29, 2022 at 5 pm
Town Council Update
Meeting agendas and updates are issued from the Town Clerk’s Office. To receive these by email or text, sign up for Carrboro Town News at carrboronc.gov/signup
Civic involvement is a valued tradition in our community. Reach the Town Council with your ideas, views, and questions at Council@carrboronc.gov
The Town Council will meet next virtually at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, to consider an agenda https://bit.ly/3N1uyOJ that also will be posted at carrboro.legistar.com
The Carrboro Town Council met virtually Tuesday, March 15, and took the following actions on the agenda posted at https://bit.ly/3vZVMzg
- The Council received monthly reports from the Fire Department, Police Department, Stormwater Utility, and Economic Development Department.
- The Council considered a request for a minor modification to the Winmore Village Mixed Use Conditional Use Permit to allow conversion of Lot 179 to three single-family lots and assign the community pool to serve as civic use. The Council has called a public hearing to give the community more opportunity to review and provide comment.
- The Council authorized the cost to construct the 203 Project Building (a library and cultural center for 203 S. Greensboro St.). Access the development highlights of this joint Town of Carrboro and Orange County project at https://www.carrboronc.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2068
About the Town Council
The Town Council is the legislative and policy-making body for Carrboro, consisting of the following: Mayor Damon Seils, Mayor Pro Tempore Susan Romaine, Council Member Barbara Foushee, Council Member Randee Haven-O’Donnell, Council Member Danny Nowell and Council Member Sammy Slade. More information is available at http://carrboronc.gov/248/Town-Council
To participate via zoom and receive access to the zoom meeting to provide public comment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration now open for entrepreneur class
Calling all aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs! The Town of Carrboro is partnering with The Business Accelerator Group (BAG) and the Durham Tech Small Business Center to host some business accelerator programs starting in April. BIPOC business owners are encouraged to apply. Register at bit.ly/sbcbag
Get practical, actionable business training from experienced advisors and support from peers in the same boat.
There are two groups (or cohorts) that will meet once a week for five weeks:
- Cohort 1 is for aspiring entrepreneurs, folks looking to launch their idea.
- Cohort 2 is for small business owners who have been in business from one to five years.
Ten to 15 members will be accepted into each cohort. Each BAG cohort meets weekly for five weeks, from mid-April through late May. Sessions are 1.5 hours in length and are in-person in Carrboro, NC. We will follow local masking guidelines and keep social distance during sessions.
What To Expect
- Education on essential small business topics.
- Coaching on how to implement the work for your business.
- Support from a cohort of entrepreneur peers.
The Business Accelerator Group is $195 per business, with scholarships up to $170 available (a cost of $25 to the business). A second business owner may attend for no additional cost.
The application is due by 11:59 p.m. on March 27, 2022. Selected applicants will be notified by April 1. Please direct all questions to Kate Wiggins at email@example.com
BIPOC business owners are encouraged to apply. Register at bit.ly/sbcbag
You can listen to a brief radio piece about the sessions here https://www.carrboronc.gov/2678/Business-Accelerator-Group-BAG
"Freight Train Blues" Concert Series returns in-person May 13
This Spring, after two virtual years, the Carrboro Town Commons will once again be the site of five free nights of wonderful roots music. The Freight Train Blues Concert Series honors Carrboro's own Elizabeth Cotten’s contributions to American roots. The concert series highlights the cultural significance, diversity, and vitality of North Carolina's roots music community. Get the full concert line-up here. https://www.townofcarrboro.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2066
Open Streets Carrboro is back!
Join us in-person this Sunday, April 3, 2022 from 12 - 4 p.m. East and West Weaver Streets will be closed to automobiles and re-opened to all kinds of fun public recreation including dancing, yoga, bike riding, rock wall climbing, bicycle smoothie making and so much more. More information available here http://www.carrbororec.org/745/Carrboro-Open-Streets
Shred-a-Thons are coming!
Bring your confidential documents for free, safe and contact-free destruction and recycling.
Orange County Solid Waste has scheduled the following Shred-a-thons:
- 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 26 at the Park & Ride Lot, 1768 Eubanks Road, Chapel Hill
- 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2, behind the Home Depot, Hampton Pointe, Hillsborough
Orange County residents, small businesses and local government employees only. Wearing a mask is required.
You must handle your own paper, as no on-site help will be available. Paper must be in clear plastic bags (up to 13 gal) or boxes (no larger than banker box). There is a limit of four boxes.
One trip per household or organization. Confidential paper only. No newspaper, magazines or catalogs. No plastic or metal binders or electronic media.
Questions? Contact 919-968-2788 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a contractor who performs stormwater-related work?
The Town of Carrboro Stormwater Division is requesting applications from qualified contractors who are available to perform stormwater-related work on a residential scale and wish to be listed in a directory on the Town’s website.
Types of residential stormwater work that are of interest include: erosion control, rain gardens and backyard wetlands, French drains, flood mitigation such as dry or wet floodproofing, Stormwater Control Measure maintenance and inspection, sewage spill cleanup, and more.
For more information, visit: www.carrboronc.gov/Stormwater-Services-Contractors