Our Apex Lions Club continues to meet virtually since the CC Jones Building is still not available to us due to Covid-19 restrictions. Even though it is difficult and not quite as personal we still continue to strive to do the work of Lions!
This evening we had as our speaker the Mayor of Apex, Jacques Gilbert. He has been a speaker at our club before as a member of Apex Police Department. But now in his new capacity as Mayor he provided us with a summary of things happening in Apex. He had a lot to say and spoke fairly quickly but I took some notes and will do my best to document what we heard here.
As always, his words were generally encouraging and optimistic even in light of the challenges we all face. Not surprisingly, he started his remarks with some Covid updates. In Wake County there have been over 59,000 cases and 397 fatalities so far. In Apex we have had approximately 2900 confirmed cases so far. The town staff is making changes as quickly as new information is made available and is taking public safety very seriously while simultaneously doing their best to balance that with continuing to make progress. It is estimated that Covid has cost Apex approximately $1.5 Million to date and that will continue to rise until the pandemic is over. Although the town has requested financial assistance from the sate that has not been made available to us yet. On a more positive note, however, tax revenues are up 18.4% year over year.
The next subject covered was the downtown area. Everyone knows that we have a very unique and beautiful downtown which makes it difficult to understand why we would want to change it. But Apex is still growing and is now the 15th largest municipality in the state and has more than 66,000 residents. The town staff did a needs assessment and developed a Downtown Master Plan (including 200 additional parking places). The assessment determined that the goals would be to energize and liven up downtown but also that parking is an issue. Additionally, there are some new housing developments planned nearby as well. Ultimately, the goal is to have a downtown which is a both a destination where gatherings can occur and also one where many people can be within a 10 minute walking distance to home so they do not need to drive to get there.
Then Mayor Jacques moved on to other subjects like Parks & Recreation and more. Apex is very well known for having many wonderful parks and more are coming including Pleasant Park which is planned to include a water play facility. In the very near future the Senior Center should be completed in early Spring. The town is also planning a second location for the Electric Operation Center as well. And the process has begun to search for a new Chief of Police as well.
We also learned about the topic of Affordable Housing. According to the mayor there are people in Apex who cannot afford rent living in hotels. There is also a shortage of rentals which would be affordable to people who make low to middle incomes of up to $75,000 per year. If rent is more than 30% of a family’s income experts consider that “housing cost burdened”. Virtually all of the new development of subdivisions in Apex consist of homes which cost $500,000 or above. Currently the draft plan for Affordable Housing is complete and is with the planning committee now. It is planned to come before the town council on January 26th and the draft plan itself can be found on the town website. This plan is also somewhat controversial and you can learn more about that and watch an interview of Mayor Jacques on WRAL.
For additional information please visit the Town Of Apex page.