Steve is committed to expanding Durham's green spaces that can be enjoyed by everyone. Durham lags far behind our neighboring cities when it comes to trail miles - funding and building them in all parts of town is something Steve constantly works to drive forward.
What Steve's done.
To advance funding for parks and trails, Steve pulled together a breakfast meeting at his home of diverse advocates. The group campaigned for and won a half-cent on the City’s tax rate to be annually dedicated to improving our parks and trails, and this has greatly enhanced the quality of these important City assets.
Steve recognized the necessity of replenishing the city’s tree canopy and making sure it was equitably distributed across the city. He brought together a meeting of residents who organized themselves into the Durham Tree Advocates. With Steve’s leadership, this organization has successfully advocated for City funding of tree management, surveying and a master plan, and it held the Trees Over Durham Forum this past year. The Tree Advocates are now organizing as a 501(c)(3) organization to establish and implement a bold goal for Durham’s tree planting over the next 30 years.
Steve has championed the purchase and development of a trail along the two-mile Beltline, a rail line running through downtown and the neighborhoods to the north and east. The Beltline will soon be in City hands, and its development as a crown jewel accessible to all residents will begin.
Durham has a dearth of athletic fields, especially soccer fields, as Steve knew from his 18 years coaching youth soccer. So Steve called together a group of soccer coaches and parents at his house for a breakfast meeting, and this group soon became the Durham Soccer Council. The council has advocated for soccer facilities in Durham, and that encouraged the City’s recent purchase of 50 acres of land in East Durham that will be the eventual home of four new soccer fields.
Pushed hard for several years to get the Ellerbe Creek West Trail extension fully funded, and he persuaded the city council to condemn the rights-of-way for the trail on land below COSTCO—which in turn persuaded the owners of the land to negotiate for the land.
Got $25,000 inserted into the City budget two years ago for the preliminary survey of five priority trails. This study led to the funding of four of five of these trails in the state’s transportation priority system. These trails will be built in the next few years.
Initiated the tree canopy study by the Environmental Affairs Board.
Advocated for the City’s bike-ped study and for the City’s adoption of a complete streets policy.
Got the developers of the Durham ID District to commit to the preservation of publicly accessible green space to be designated as a public park.
Supported the stronger federal water quality regulations over the weaker, conflicting state regulations in a recent council vote.