Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger is running for office this November unopposed. City Desk Editor Rebecca Ayers sat down with Hemminger to speak with her about new town developments and the town's relationship with UNC.
The Daily Tar Heel: Over the summer there were many new developments. What do you think of the new Target and how downtown Chapel Hill is evolving?
Pam Hemminger: The Target is wonderful, that's a turn for Chapel Hill that we haven't had before. For me it's about having those opportunities downtown for people who live here to be able to have access to food and to those kinds of resources here. And students -- when students are coming, (they have) school supplies (and) things like that. I have had three of my four children go to UNC. People were going to Target over in Durham and spending their tax dollars there and it's a longer way away. (Now) we have those things right here. It helps our whole economy when people shop locally. The new developments that are here (in) Carolina Square are going to be offering a performance venue. That's something we've been pushing for downtown, is more performance venues, so that people want to come here to participate in all those kinds of things.
DTH: You said you're going to continue to work on the Affordable Housing Strategic Plan, can you elaborate more on it?
PM: When I came into office everyone talked about affordable housing, but we didn't really understand where we were, (for instance) what percentage of Chapel Hill is affordable. So we spent a year on summation and gathering information from all the housing groups. My intern called apartment complexes to get rents and then we charted it. Chapel Hill is made up of about 22,000 residential units and about five percent of those are affordable. So we know that doesn't feel good, and we know a piecemeal approach of a little here a little there isn't really working. The DHIC project is bigger, but we backslide when we lose mobile home parks and other older apartment buildings to redevelopment to luxury (buildings), that makes us backslide. So we know where we are now, but where do we want to go? And the Council needs to set that goal, but the staff has been working all summer on a strategic plan to take us to a bigger outcome and I'm hopeful that we will set a goal and go towards that.