The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday December 1st

Column: Mayor Pam welcomes students back to Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger poses for a portrait at the Old Well on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.
Buy Photos Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger poses for a portrait at the Old Well on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.

Hello, Tar Heels!

Welcome back to Chapel Hill. Whether you are a new or returning student, we are glad to have you as part of our extended family.

Thankfully, we can welcome you back to our community — in person — this fall. Over the past year, local leaders from the Town, County and UNC have worked hard to keep our community safe and our businesses open during the pandemic. Now it is up to all of us — students, teachers, graduates, employers, employees, retirees and so on — to continue to work together to fight against COVID-19.

This week, the Orange County leaders, together, agreed on a countywide, indoor mask mandate for public places. Until more people are vaccinated and we can get the spread of the virus back under control, we need to use all the tools at our disposal. Vaccines and masks are the best tools for helping us get a handle on this surge in cases. If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, please take time today to get your shot and, when you head to Franklin Street for a bite to eat or stop in a local store to purchase supplies, remember your mask.

In addition to important health-safety information, I want to let you know about an exciting project you’ve likely noticed upon your return to town. The Rosemary Parking Deck was taken down a couple weeks ago, and contractors for the Town continue their removal of the debris. They’re making way for a project about which I am very passionate — the East Rosemary Redevelopment Project.

Beginning in September, in place of that old deck, we will be building a new, 1,100-space parking deck with a retail porch along Rosemary Street and a redesigned road with protected bike lanes. This project is part of a larger overall project in the 100 block of East Rosemary Street that will include a new office building, a fresh look to some existing buildings, a Town green and public park, enhanced sidewalks and green streetscape. I know the demolition wasn’t a pretty sight to return to, but the results will be well worth it. For more on this project, please visit

Another town improvement project that is coming soon is the Estes Drive Connectivity Project. The Town has designed some exciting new infrastructure for this major east-west corridor to add raised bike lanes, sidewalks and a side path. There will be traffic impacts during the project, and the Town will be announcing all the details soon and often so you can adjust your travel behaviors when necessary. Take a look at the design and get more information at

A great way to stay connected and informed about “all things Chapel Hill” is to sign up for our weekly e-news ( and to follow ChapelHillGov on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I want to wish you all the success as you start your new semester. Work hard and find time to safely relax and unwind when you can. Go Heels!

— Mayor Pam


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