Welcome to the Archive of The Carrboro Citizen Logo Image

Carrboro Board of Alderman candidate: Sharon Cook

Age: 53

Neighborhood: Highlands

Family: My husband, Bill, and I have been married for 23 years. We have three teenage children.

Profession/Business: For the past 18 years, I’ve been a homemaker and community volunteer working in a wide range of community organizations where I regularly apply my writing, research, leadership, organization and team-building skills.

Education & Experience: BA in Journalism, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1981. Member of the Carrboro Town Planning Board and representative to the Greenways Commission; participant in Northern Study Area community forums; petitioned the Legislature to create the Hogan Farms precinct; led petition drive to modify the Carrboro Town Charter to favor election over appointment of town officials; member of the Friends of Bolin Creek; advocate for the Rogers Road neighborhood; led grassroots effort to establish and served as representative to the Homestead and High School Road Safety Task Force; co-chair of the Smith Middle School-School Governance Committee; Orange United Methodist Church Youth Local Missions and Services coordinator; tutoring and other volunteer work in the city schools.

Endorsements: Carrboro Police Officers’ Association; Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce noted that I am a “…strong candidate for Carrboro and Carrboro businesses.”

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

I will work in harmony with the school board to plan responsible development to prevent school overcrowding. I’ll encourage new schools to be built in locations which are walkable, along with looking at ways to maximize safe walking and bicycling to current schools. Our current commercial tax base is 11 percent of town revenues. I’ll work to better balance our commercial and residential tax base in order to keep Carrboro affordable for current and future residents, including those on fixed or limited incomes who are finding it difficult to afford to continue living in town. Our longtime residents add invaluably to our community. We need to find ways to make it possible for residents who have spent decades living in Carrboro to remain in our community. I will also work to enhance neighborhood preservation related to new developments.

What are the top two or three critical issues facing Carrboro?

Along with the need to increase our commercial tax base, residential development pressure is the most critical issue facing Carrboro. The building of new residences is far outpacing our ability to provide needed infrastructure improvements. This is resulting in ever-increasing traffic on our roads, millions of dollars being spent to build new schools while maintenance and upgrading of our older schools is severely limited, increasing demands for water with limited backup supplies during emergency conditions such as the current drought, and the coming cost and environmental impact of shipping our trash out of the county. Knowing that residential growth doesn’t pay for itself, we need to better balance residential with commercial growth, and better balance residential growth with our ability to provide the necessary infrastructure improvements.

What have you learned about our town in the campaign?

I’ve met a lot of great people while campaigning in neighborhoods throughout town, and I’ve learned that most of them are concerned about the same problems that I’m concerned about. Carrboro is a great place with its own unique charm which is being threatened by uncontrolled and out-of-harmony development. Every time a long-time business closes shop, we lose part of who we are as a community. We need to keep downtown vibrant, accessible and safe for merchants and patrons alike.

I’ve also learned that our current town leadership is closely aligned with Chapel Hill town leadership, as indicated by the many letters of endorsement from Chapel Hill leaders for Carrboro candidates. While I know that there are many issues which Chapel Hill and Carrboro leaders must work on cooperatively, as I experienced with the multi-jurisdictional work on Homestead and High School Road, there are many things about Chapel Hill that I would not like to see copied here in Carrboro. If elected to represent the citizens of Carrboro, I will work to maintain and enhance the special place we call home.

Comments are closed.