City of Durham, City Manager's Report, Thomas J. Bonfield, Durham City Manager

May 10, 2019 | Volume 12, No. 14

Note from Tom


Participatory Budgeting Sparks Civic Engagement

With a background in finance I’m always excited by budgets, but I realize everyone may not share my enthusiasm! This year, Durham’s Participatory Budgeting project (PB Durham) is an interesting, new way to get our residents excited and engaged as well. It’s a democratic process that allows community members to decide how to spend part of the budget, specifically $2.4 million, that the Durham City Council allocated in 2018.

Since PB Durham kicked off, more than 500 ideas were submitted including community gardens, public art, school technology, dog parks, and more. Now is your chance to help decide which of the top 40 projects should be implemented. Vote online or at various voting sites and pop-up sites through May 31.

We look forward to identifying and implementing your winning ideas over the coming year.

City of Durham News


workers move barriers on Duke St.

North Duke Street Reopens as Gas Explosion Investigation and Recovery Continues

On Thursday evening, final barricades were removed and North Duke Street officially reopened to traffic after being closed since April 10. While several buildings and businesses remain condemned or closed, the Brightleaf District is largely open for business. We appreciate the community’s patience over the past month while the City worked with NCDOT & other partners to reopen this roadway.

mock up of cross walk improvements at West Club Blvd.

Safe Streets, Smart Cities Pilot Project Will Bring Safety Updates to West Club Boulevard

In September 2018, the National Complete Streets Coalition selected the City of Durham to participate in their Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy. The City’s Safe Streets Academy team has received online and in-person training for the past year through the academy. The City will complete a pilot project at the culmination of the academy. Durham’s project aims to transform a section of West Club Boulevard into a safer place for users of all transportation modes. Learn more

Durham Celebrates National Drinking Water Week

City leaders are asking residents to take a moment this week to recognize the City employees who work every day to provide a clean, safe, and reliable supply of drinking water to Durham. In honor of 2019 National Drinking Water Week, Mayor Steve Schewel issued a proclamation at Monday’s City Council meeting, declaring May 5-11 Drinking Water Week in the City of Durham. Learn more.

Durham Police Department Unveils New Recruitment Video

The Durham Police Department is always looking for driven people to join its team and work to help strengthen and protect the community. Learn more about the opportunities in their new recruitment video, and help get the word out to those who may be interested in this important work. Learn more.

Photo Highlight


Group photo of the student artists who participated in the water conservation poster contest

Student-Artists Bring Attention to Water Conservation

In honor of 2019 National Drinking Water Week, nine student-artists from our local schools created winning interpretations in our 2019 Water Conservation Poster Contest. The contest, coordinated by Durham Saves Water, is a big part of our annual celebration. Congrats to these amazing student-artists! View the list of winners.

Upcoming Events



50th Annual Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival

Saturday, May 18, Noon–8 p.m.
Rock Quarry Park, 701 Stadium Dr.

The national, award-winning Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019! This family-oriented event is a celebration of African and African American history, culture, arts, and traditions. Festival activities will include live music, family fun zone, arts and crafts, ethnic food, local talent, and more. In addition, weekday events will take place May 1217 leading up to the big event on May 18. Learn more.

50th Annual Bimbe Festival Logo

City Manager Presents the Proposed 2019-2020 Budget

Monday, May 20, 7 p.m.
City Hall Council Chambers, 101 City Hall Plaza, First Floor

City Manager Tom Bonfield will present the proposed 2019-2020 budget to City Council as part of the May 20 City Council Meeting. The meeting is open to the public and will air live on Durham Television Network (Spectrum ch. 8, Google Fiber ch. 8, Frontier ch. 70, and AT&T U-verse ch. 99). There will also be a live stream from the City's website and live tweets during the meeting

Now Showing on Durham Television Network


Catch Up with Bull City Wrap

Get a recap of this week's news in three minutes with the latest episode of Bull City Wrap.

In this week's episode: Basketball courts get new look and feel; Supporting families experiencing homelessness; New signage coming to downtown Durham; Gearing up for Census 2020; and, Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival celebrates 50 years. Watch now

Bimbe musician performs in front of large crowd

Stay Current with Our Durham-Focused Shows

The Durham Television Network produces four shows to help keep residents informed.

Follow the City of Durham YouTube channel to see the latest episodes, or watch on Spectrum channel 8, Google Fiber Channel 8, AT&T U-verse channel 99, and Frontier channel 70.

Durham Water Works for You


Tap Water Gets a Spring Cleaning to Clear Taste and Odor Changes

If you've noticed an earthy smell or taste in your water, don't be alarmed. Durham's tap water is safe to drink and use for all purposes. This is a seasonal phenomenon, and originates at our source waters - lakes Michie and Little River, where rains, algae growth, lake water turnover, and other natural factors affect the water quality in these raw sources. It's not uncommon in North Carolina and communities with a similar climate that rely on surface water/lakes for their water sources. Additional chemical treatments and targeted distribution line flushing are underway across the city, with recent samplings showing a substantial decrease in detected odor. Additional samples will be collected May 13.

As a water customer, you can help by reporting any concerns through Durham One Call at 919-560-1200, online at durhamnc.gov/onecall, or through the free smartphone app in the Apple and Google Play stores. Thank you for your patience, and to reiterate, the City's tap water is completely safe to drink and use for all purposes. Follow @DurhamWater for updates.


Buchanan Boulevard Waterline Replacement Project Update

The City's Water Management Department appreciates your ongoing patience with the work along the busy corridors associated with this project. Find additional details and updates online.

Week of May 13:
  • W. Chapel Hill Street will have lane and on-street parking closures to accommodate waterline installation.
  • Shepherd Street will have traffic lane and sidewalk closures between W. Chapel Hill Street and Jackson Street to accommodate waterline installation.
  • Buchanan Boulevard will have southbound lane closures between W. Main Street and W. Chapel Hill Street.
  • Isolated lane closures and shifts lasting several hours will be required in the project area to accommodate sanitary sewer investigations and rehabilitation.
  • No work will take place on Saturday or Sunday.

Central Park Waterline Replacement Project Update

The City's Water Management Department appreciates your ongoing patience with the work along the busy corridors associated with this project. Find additional details and updates online.


Week of May 13:
  • Madison Avenue will be closed as sanitary sewer work begins.
  • Northwood Circle will be closed as water line work begins.
  • Geer Street will be reduced to one lane as sanitary sewer work continues.
  • Washington Street between Trinity Avenue and West Corporation Street will be temporarily reduced to one lane as water line work continues.
  • No work is scheduled for this weekend. 
Plant drought tolerant and/or native trees and plants. Use mulch to help retain moisture. To learn more about reducing the amount of water your lawn and garden needs and about the practice of xeriscaping or planting drought tolerant species, see our WaterWise Landscaping and Watering Guide.

Stay Connected with Durham Information Network


Durham Information Network is the communications umbrella for information about the City, and its events and activities. Follow our channels to stay engaged and informed, including Durham Television Network, the City Manager’s Report and the Citizens’ Newsletter.


Follow us @CityofDurhamNC on social:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Durham Information Network logo

Social Spotlight

Shout out to our Durham Fire Department which recently participated in the American Red Cross ‘Sound the Alarm’ event with 193 volunteers. Our firefighters canvassed our community on April 27 and installed 568 smoke alarms. Keep your eyes open as they will continue to canvass the Bull City over the next 18 weeks. Be sure to follow them @durhamcityfire on Twitter and Instagram for details on where they'll be next! 
Follow us @cityofdurhamnc.

Fire Department and Red Cross volunteers help community members install smoke alarms

Durham One Call is Here To Help


Durham One Call logo image

Durham One Call provides a high level of service in English and Spanish for inquiries and requests for service. Let us know how we can help you.

  • Call 919-560-1200
  • Use the One Call App 24/7
  • Visit the website
  • Stop by the City Hall lobby desk at 101 City Plaza Hall, M-F between 8-5

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