Carrboro. NC: Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle has announced that she will run for a second term as mayor of Carrboro in the November 2015 election. Lavelle was first elected to the seat in 2013 after serving for six years on the Board of Aldermen.
One of Mayor Lavelle’s goals during her first term in office was to represent Carrboro and its interests on a broader level. To that end, Mayor Lavelle has been an active member of the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, a statewide group comprised of mayors from North Carolina’s largest towns and cities that works on legislative issues. She also regularly attends Triangle J meetings of mayors and county commission chairs to focus on regional collaboration.
As she did as an alderman, Lavelle continues to focus on transportation issues during her first term as mayor. She is the past chair and current alternate to the regional Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The MPO is composed of elected officials from Orange, Durham and Chatham counties. The group is responsible for addressing and planning transportation needs for the region. Lavelle remains passionate about increasing access to transit, and continuing to make the sidewalks and streets of Carrboro accessible and safe for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“These are exciting times in Carrboro,” Lavelle said. “We are experiencing a period of growth and change downtown. Our Hampton Inn & Suites was recognized by Hilton Worldwide as the top new Hampton hotel in the Americas. Two of our nationally known local businesses, Fleet Feet and Kalisher, chose to remain in Carrboro and are in new locations along Main Street. Carrboro also has its second brewery and several new shops and restaurants.” She continued: “These changes must be managed carefully to ensure that we do not lose sight of what we love about our community – our small town feel – while recognizing that we are increasing our cache as a destination for others.”
As mayor, Lavelle has been a visible leader, working hard to be present at town events and to show support to the many businesses and non-profits that operate in or affect the daily lives of citizens and residents. A popular tradition started by Lavelle is to recognize state championship athletic teams from Carrboro and Chapel Hill High School by presenting them with a proclamation at a Board meeting declaring the next day to be named in their honor. Town staff decorates the Board room, the team is photographed with the mayor and Board, and the community is encouraged to seek out ways to congratulate these student athletes. Eight such teams have been honored.
Lavelle expects that solid waste, affordable housing and decisions regarding key development projects will be issues that she and the Board of Aldermen will address in the next term. Lavelle stated, “It is a privilege to serve as the mayor of Carrboro. I cannot say enough about the great service people receive from our town manager and staff. Employees in Carrboro are accessible, qualified, and committed to their jobs and this community. Further, I am fortunate to serve with the dedicated elected leaders on our Board of Aldermen. Together, we work hard to create policy and make decisions that reflect our town values.”
Lavelle is an assistant professor at the North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham. She has lived in the triangle area for thirty years. Lavelle and wife Alicia Stemper were married during Lavelle’s first term, shortly after marriage equality became the law in North Carolina. Citing their gratitude for Carrboro’s decades-long tradition of leadership for this and other progressive social issues, the couple held their ceremony at Town Commons and issued an open invitation to the town. Mayor Lavelle and her family live in the Fox Meadow neighborhood.