Liquid Oxygen is Cool
This week in Concord I made finishing touches to several of my assignments. I also sat in on more functional meetings with department heads and another city council meeting. In addition to meetings, I took a fascinating field trip to the Water and Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County (WSACC) with Water Resources Director Christie Putnam. WSACC provides waste water transportation and treatment for several municipalities across Cabarrus County. Christie and I received an extensive tour from Facilities Director Mark Fowler. While the smell wasn’t always pleasant, the facility operations kept my mind distracted. WSACC does a great job of containing the smell from the surrounding area. I got to see Archimedes’ screws in action as they re-circulated sludge. I also got to see what pure liquid oxygen looks like in person. It’s a pale blue liquid and it was pretty cool to watch it freeze a leaf.
On Thursday, I met with the director and deputy director of Concord’s Planning and Neighborhood Development Department, as well as with transportation engineers to discuss street trees. Street trees provide several benefits such as buffers between motorists and pedestrians, improved air quality, and increased business and property values. However they can also lead to problems above and below ground, including limited sign visibility, buckled sidewalks, and damage to underground utilities. The planning department and the transportation department seem to have differing views on street trees. It will be interesting to see what compromise will evolve from the opposing viewpoints.
I met with City Manager Brian Hiatt, Deputy City Manager Jim Greene, and Assistant City Manager Merl Hamilton Friday morning to review my report on city hall security. The report summarized how other cities across North Carolina manage security for their respective city halls. Installation of exterior and interior key card scanners, police officer presence at city halls and council meetings, as well as use of metal detectors/wands were some of the topics considered in my research. The City Manager’s Office will now consider the report as it decides what level of security is right for the new Concord City Hall.
I’ve arranged a street trees meeting this coming Tuesday between various department heads from transportation and planning to water resources and electric. In addition, a representative of the North Carolina Forest Service will also attend to discuss the Concord’s current list of recommended street trees and provide additional information as the city considers revising its development guidelines.
It’s been another great week in the City of Concord. I hope to make a trip to the Queen City soon to visit fellow UNC MPA classmates Ed Blayney and Matthew Teal. Ed is interning with the City of Charlotte’s budget office. Matthew is interning with the FBI. My next post will cover updates on the street tree meeting and my review of engineering career development plans, in addition to any other exciting events bound to occur.