At a regular meeting on September 13th, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen made appointments to the Greenways Commission. Marc Desormeau, Charlie Hillman, Gary Junker, and Mary Sonis were appointed.
Marc Desormeau lives in the Highlands. He and his wife have 3 children and they are avid bicyclists. His company “Sundogs Solutions” believes in sustainable communities and renewable energy, and does solar installations and green building projects.
Charlie Hillman is also an avid cyclist. He runs the blog Bike Carrboro which promotes biking in the area. He is former chair of Carrboro’s Transportation Advisory Committee.
Gary Junker lives near Morgan Creek and was the only person to be reappointed to the Greenways Commission where he has served since October 2, 2007. He works for the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools.
Mary Sonis lives in Fair Oaks with her family. She has a wide knowledge of wildlife in the Upper Bolin Creek and wider community, a perspective that has been missing from the Commission. Her regular wildlife column appears in the Mill supplement of the Carrboro Citizen.
According to its mission, this Commission “recommends to the Board policies, programs, and actions that may assist the town in safeguarding the water quality, environment and livability of the community by establishing greenways.” Friends of Bolin Creek will continue to attend Greenways Commission meetings and advocate for a system of greenways that includes paths featuring the natural woodland experience, in addition to giving input on paved paths that are suitable for bike connections.
We feel a well- balanced citizen advisory commission that receives public input is particularly important to the Board when public money is spent. We want to see the Greenways Commission succeed in its mission and continue. We are not sure why the Board mandated that the Commission now meet quarterly.
Last year’s sometimes contentious meetings focused on debate whether to recommend the Consultant’s report to pave a 10 foot wide transportation route along Bolin Creek or to leave existing paths along Bolin Creek in a natural state. After a year and 3 months of discussion the Greenways Commission finally decided not to take action on the proposal and choose to end discussion.
We are looking ahead to productive Greenways discussions over the next year that takes into account UNC’s plans to conserve areas they have committed to conserve. In addition, UNC is paying for several important bike connections including bike paths along Seawell School Road, which will join the northern Carrboro Greenway, and the interior Carolina North bikepath near the new campus. UNC, Carrboro and Chapel Hill selected a third third bike route, the Campus to Campus Connector, and put it on the long-range transportation plan for funding. This map show these these bike connections which will benefit both Towns with the added benefit of keeping pavement out of the Upper Bolin Creek Forest.