Friday, July 12, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

Burlington seeks lay people to join arboretum’s advisory board

The city of Burlington is looking for a few good men or women to serve as community representatives on the technical advisory board that helps oversee the municipal arboretum at Willowbrook Park.

Currently consisting of 11 members with specialized expertise or organizational affiliations, this technical advisory board has been instrumental in shaping the arboretum’s development since 2021.

In addition to city staff members from various departments, its appointees also include experts in horticulture and delegates from the nonprofit New Leaf Society, which has provided much of the seed money for this botanical enclave. Yet, conspicuously absent from the group’s membership are any of the numerous residents who visit the arboretum and delight in its amenities even if they lack the expert knowledge to distinguish an oak tree from poison oak.

Last Tuesday, however, Burlington’s city council agreed to add two new seats to the 11-person committee in order to include a couple of lay people among its complement of technical advisors. The council voted 5-to-0 to tack on these posts at the behest of Burlington’s recreation director Tony Laws, who noted the enormous interest that the general public has already shown in this facility.

- Advertisement -

[Story continues below photos of the arboretum at Willowbrook Park.]



“Through this board, we’ve done a lot of good things in the arboretum,” Laws went on to elaborate during a council meeting on Tuesday. “But our board was thinking that we need to ask for a couple more members. People want to serve and share their ideas for the arboretum – so we’re asking the council to add two new at-large members.”

The New Leaf Society’s Rett Davis and Burlington recreation and parks director Tony Laws

“[O]ur board was thinking that we need to ask for a couple more members. People want to serve and share their ideas for the arboretum – so we’re asking the council to add two new at-large members.”

– Tony Law, Burlington recreation and parks director

“[W]e’d like to get input from the users of the park who are not trained in horticulture…and we think this is the natural growth for the advisory board.”

– Rett Davis with New Leaf Society

The recreation director’s pitch to the council was bolstered by Rett Davis, a member of the New Leaf Society who also represents this organization on the advisory board. Davis observed that, as things currently stand, the arboretum’s advisors have much in the way of botanical know-how.

“They’re all plant people,” he went on to explain. “But we’d like to get input from the users of the park who are not trained in horticulture…and we think this is the natural growth for the advisory board.”

The council’s approval of these positions clears the way for the city to accept applications from people willing to serve as the advisory board’s resident non-experts. Laws added that, once all the applications are in, the council will be able to appoint its two preferred candidates in time for them to begin their three-year terms on July 1 of this year.

 

Rezoning for 1210 Kirkpatrick Road

In addition to expanding the arboretum’s advisory board, the city council also gave its unanimous nod to a rezoning request that permits a denser form of residential development on a lot just under two acres in size at 1210 Kirkpatrick Road.

Situated alongside the Ethan Pointe apartments, this parcel was previously zoned for medium density residential development and is presently home to a solitary single-family dwelling. According to city records, the Graham-based homebuilder Dennis Euliss is interested in developing a project dubbed “Grand Oaks East” on this site, although the particulars of his plans didn’t appear in the rezoning request, which called for a straightforward change from medium to high density residential development.

The council voted 5-to-0 for the proposed zoning change.

Must Read

Graham council purchases 12 acres beside Bill Cooke Park for expansion

Graham’s city council has finalized a decision to buy three parcels of land adjacent to Bill Cooke Park on Town Branch Road “for the...