It was a bit of a travel weekend in the BCR household, as we headed up to Baltimore for a weekend couple getaway. Interesting city and a neat urban core to explore; if you get a chance to the American Visionary Art Museum, check it out -- by far the most intriguing and interesting museum I've ever stopped in on.
So what happened this weekend? Well, here's what the papers say:
$150k for Duke Park: It's been the buzz of the Duke Park listserv, and now Tom Bonfield's comments to Duke Park neighborhood leaders are making their way to The Durham News, which reports the administration's willingness to in a future year find $150,000 towards renovating the old bathhouse at the park -- assuming that the neighborhood can find grants or other sources towards the estimated $200k total. (The Durham News)
Keystone Complains over Planned Road: Residents of the Keystone Crossing neighborhood in RTP are complaining over a plan to shut Church St. and turn a "main drag" through their 'hood into a Hopson Rd. through-connection for nearby Morrisville neighborhoods instead. The change -- which from the Herald-Sun's pictures would make their road more akin to something like ACC Blvd. down in the Brier Creek area, albeit a narrower version -- was part of the approval process for the development in the first place, given the long-planned Church St. closing to facilitate a double-tracking and rail improvement project on the nearby N.C.R.R. rail tracks. (Herald-Sun)
Courthouse Groundbreaking: The groundbreaking ceremony for Durham County's new courthouse -- the fourth such structure to bear that name, sez the N&O's reporter and Durham historian Jim Wise -- is set for this Wednesday. The new structure, a recession-priced bargain financed through short-term debt during construction, will rise just to the south of the jail on the former sites of a U-Haul dealership and the Scarborough & Hargett funeral home. (N&O)
Road Bucks Favor Rural Areas, but Durham Does OK?: The N&O reiterates the long-held point that rural areas in NC tend to get a disproportionate share of total road funding, after a Jim Martin-era policy to bring four-lane roads within ten miles of all of the state's residents. In the last decade Wake Co. ranked 90th on a per-capita basis for road dollars, though it still ended up (with Mecklenburg) as one of the top two destinations for NCDOT funding. Here in Durham, we grouse about getting no loop funding yet -- though it took us more than a decade to get our plans for using 'em set -- yet we ended up 52nd in the state over the decade, just above the average per-capita spending level, something we suspect is more due to the I-85 widening than any focused local benefit per se. To that point, NCDOT officials defend the spending as being based on statewide economic priorities like expanding access to seaports, and that big-spending in some Outer Banks counties largely benefits folks like tourists passing through, not locals. (N&O)
Two Dukes in Tourney Joy: For the first time ever, two men's and women's basketball Elite Eight pairings are the same. Duke's men moved on to the Final Four with a victory over Baylor last night, while the women's team tries to make the same bracket level in their game against Baylor's women tonight. (Herald-Sun)