President’s Report: 2021 in Review

By Karalyn Colopy, TPNA President

In 2021 we made progress in adjusting to life with Covid. We resumed publication of this newsletter after a pandemic pause, held some of our traditional annual community events, and committed to have a Home Tour in 2022.

Some highlights:

Meetings

The Board actually considered meeting in person at a few points during the year when Covid case counts were low, but we never quite got there. So we continued to meeting via Zoom, enjoying several guest speakers: in January, Dale McKeel (City of Durham Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator) about the Shared Streets Program on Watts St.; in March, Laura Stroud (Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association) about efforts to mitigate erosion along the creek; in September, Rabbi Nossen Fellig (Chabad House – the old Kings Daughter’s Inn), introducing himself and his organization as our new neighbors; and in October, Chayla Hart and Ellen Reckhow (Keep Durham Beautiful), about eco-friendly ways to deal with autumn leaves.

Advocacy

In July, TPNA held a forum for neighborhood concerns relating to property damage, disruption and safety hazards that had been created by Verizon / Globe Communications digging in the neighborhood for many months to install fiber optic cable and 5G. At a special meeting over Zoom,

City staff, three Verizon representatives, and about 30 Trinity Park neighbors and board members discussed the issues. TPNA wrote and sent a resolution to the City to request better handling of the situation.

Clean-up efforts

Thanks to Julia Borbely-Brown, we held several litter pick-up efforts in the neighborhood and along the Ellerbe Creek Trail, as well as weeding and planting days in the traffic circles and medians. We established a new on- going litter pick-up program, where individuals adopt a block, pledging to pick up trash along the block a few times a month. We still need more volunteers for the adopt-a-block program in the northern and southern ends of the neighborhood, and to adopt the Watts traffic circle and Markham median. Contact Julia Borbely-Brown (julia.borbely-brown@self-help.org) if you can help.

Neighborhood improvements with Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership Along with 12 other neighborhoods adjacent to Duke, Trinity Park is part of the DDNP, to build relationships and catalyze neighborhood improvements.

In 2021, Duke offered grants to DDNP members. Trinity Park was awarded 3 grants: 1) With the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, $9000 for invasive species removal along
the Ellerbe Creek trail, and for a cultural display featuring prominent African Americans who grew up in the watershed. 2) With the Trinity Park Foundation, $1400 to create
and install brass plaques for three of the sculptures in the park, and 3) With the George Watts Montessori Elementary School PTA, $1100 for rain garden maintenance and a rain garden workshop attended by about a dozen neighbors. Thanks to Sarah Musser and Annie Ambrose for leading!

Monitoring local developments

TPNA continues to monitor developments in the broader vicinity that affect our neighborhood: Crime and Safety (monitored by Ron Gallagher), the South Ellerbe Creek Wetlands redevelopment project at Trinity Ave. (monitored by Scott Doron and Mollie Flowe), the Northgate Mall redevelopment project (monitored by Waugh Wright), and Traffic/Bike/Ped concerns (monitored by Beth Emerson and Mollie Flowe).

Community Events

Although the Spring Egg Hunt and Durham Symphony Pops in the Park concert were both canceled due to Covid, we did hold our annual National Night Out celebration on August 3 and had a great turn out. We also enjoyed a beautiful Halloween in the park with several hundred trick-or-treaters. We gave out candy and glow sticks and sponsored an alien-themed photo booth, all of which attracted a big crowd, eager for a chance to socialize. Thanks to Steve Falzarano and Waugh Wright for organizing these events, and to Missy Crawford- Smith for awesome alien artwork. We finished the year with with Luminaria Night on December 19, organized by Mollie Flowe as a fundraiser for the Riverside HS PTA.

Goodbyes and Hellos

Finally, at our Annual Meeting on January 12, we said goodbye to several long-serving members as they completed their terms. To fill their shoes, we elected three new board members and one returning member.

THANK YOU to our out-going Members!
Kevin Kearns
, 3 years as a Board member Beth Emerson, 3 years as a Board member Adam McClellan, 4 years as Treasurer Waugh Wright, 4 years as Secretary (and now continuing as a Board member).

Meet our in-coming Members!

Annie Ambrose (Board member) has lived in Durham since 2001, first in Watts-Hillandale and now in Trinity Park for the past 11 years, with her husband Jarrod and two kids. Their kids are at DSA and George Watts, and Annie loves that they can both walk to school. They recently got a new and very energetic goldendoodle puppy, Maisie. Annie grew up in Chicago, went to Cornell for college and then made her way south via a two-year stint in D.C. followed by graduate school at UNC for a master’s in city and regional planning. She works at Self-Help Credit Union with a national affordable housing mortgage program. She loves walks in Trinity Park, Durham restaurants, and in-person school.

Bill Brown (Treasurer) and his wife Jane met at Duke in the 90s, moved away after graduation, and then moved back to Durham in 2004. They wanted to live in a walkable neighborhood and found a place in Trinity Park on Dollar Ave. They have three daughters, two out of high school and the youngest at Riverside High School. Jane works for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of NC, and Bill is an entrepreneur. He has helped spin several technologies out of Duke’s biomedical engineering department, including his current company that is focused on reducing the cost of retinal imaging.
Bill and his family have enjoyed Trinity Park for the past 18 years, forming many happy memories of days in the park on the swings and jungle gym, of Halloween parades and luminaries, and much more. Now that he has some extra time, he’s paying back the work that was done by others before him to help make Trinity Park a great place to live. Bill was first elected to the TPNA Board as a Board member in 2021, now will serve as the TPNA Treasurer.

Missy Crawford-Smith (Secretary) has called Trinity Park home for the last 7+ years. Born and raised a Buckeye, with a stint in DC Metro prior to settling in Durham in Trinity Park, Missy is a social worker and works with people with disabilities. You will find her walking her goldendoodle Gromit most days in the Park. She loves hiking and traveling. Missy was first elected to the TPNA Board as a Board member in 2021, and is now stepping up to serve as the TPNA Secretary.

Tiffany Florestal (Board member) grew up on Long Island, spent a decade in Chicago, and finally settled
on Watts St. when her son started at George Watts in 2014. She is a member of Durham Friends Meeting (silent shout out to all Quakers), drinks a lot of coffee, likes getting her hands dirty, exercises sometimes, supports childhood education always, and loves when friends drop by unannounced to say hello: all of which can happen right here in Trinity Park! After several years at the JB Duke Hotel she has relocated to a new work home at CIMG Residential Mortgage.

Mimi Kessler (Board member) was born in Boston and came to Duke in 1974. After graduating from the nursing program, she worked as a staff nurse and progressed in nursing management positions in North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Georgia. She lived
in Atlanta for 25 years, where she got married, earned an MBA, and worked in project management and IT related to healthcare. She also owned a restaurant (“Mimi’s in a Minute” gourmet food to go) for several years, which she ascribes to her “first midlife crisis.” She has one son, who is a computer programmer and lives in Atlanta. She returned to Durham in 2011. She is now “retired” from her career jobs and works part-time as the personal assistant.

Waugh Wright (Board member) served as TPNA Secretary for four years and
has been a TPNA resident for twice that. (After completing two terms as Secretary, Waugh is now serving a term as a regular Board member.) He was a public school science teacher for 14 years, the last two at DSA. He is currently the Bicycle & Pedestrian Program Manager at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at NC State, where he also works on transit and pupil transportation issues. Pre-pandemic he went to lots of concerts in the Triangle. He makes excellent guacamole and often has fresh cuts on his hands from shucking oysters. He has published two young adult science fiction books and is the editor of the Music That Doesn’t Suck trivia quiz book series (first books out in Spring 2022!).

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