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$33 million road bond vote shelved until 2014

By Joe Marusak

Mooresville residents will have to wait until the May 2014 primary election to vote on $33 million in road bonds.

If approved, the bonds would pay for 23 major projects across Mooresville. To pay off the bonds, the town would need a 10-cent increase in the property tax rate over 20 years.

The Mooresville Board of Commissioners voted 4-2 on July 15 against putting the referendum on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Commissioner Lisa Qualls said a mere 15 percent of eligible Mooresville voters typically turn out for a November election involving municipal seats. It’s not fair, she said, for so few voters to decide such a major referendum.

As of the Observer’s deadline last week, Qualls was unopposed for her Ward 4 seat in November.

Qualls and commissioners Bobby Compton, Eddie Dingler and Rhett Dusenbury voted against putting the referendum on the Nov. 5 ballot. Commissioners Thurman Houston and Mac Herring voted to have voters decide this fall.

Houston said residents have already asked for the road improvements.

“I think we need to do something for our citizens,” he said before the board’s vote.

Town Manager Erskine Smith told the board before its vote that delaying the referendum until May would mean projects wouldn’t be completed until 2016 or later.

Projects include improving the outdated, traffic-clogged N.C. 150 intersections at N.C. 115, Talbert Road and N.C. 801. A right-turn lane would be added on N.C. 150 to the southbound Interstate 77 ramp at Exit 36 to alleviate N.C. 150 backups.

The bonds also would pay for a nearly mile-long, $2 million connector road linking Mazeppa and Cornelius roads to ease access to Interstate 77 for trucks traveling to and from two of the town’s industrial parks. The project would divert trucks off N.C. 150, further relieving congestion there.

Other projects include a $185,000 Dye Creek Greenway, more downtown parking, a $4 million downtown parking deck and completion of the four-lane section of Williamson Road from the Morrison Plantation retail-residential development to N.C. 150 for $1 million.

The bonds would also build a 1.6-mile sidewalk network along Kistler Farm, Briarcliff, Bellingham and White Oaks roads, 1.7 miles of sidewalks from the Consumer Square (Super Walmart) retail center to McLelland Avenue on one side of N.C. 150 and sidewalks on Wilson and Patterson avenues.

Residents have bitterly opposed two projects on the list: A 0.75-mile two-lane divided road between the end of Plantation Ridge Drive in Morrison Plantation and Doolie Road near Lake Norman High School; and an I-77 bridge connecting Midnight Lane and Oates Road.

Midnight Lane is off Bluefield Road near BJ’s Wholesale Club. Oates Road leads past Talbert Pointe Business Park.

Dusenbury criticized the I-77 bridge.

“We’re putting a $9.5 million bridge in front of a strip club,” he said, referring to a business on Oates Road. Mayor Miles Atkins then ruled Dusenbury out of order.

Mooresville opens dog park

Mooresville officials on July 20 were scheduled to hold a reopening celebration for Academy Street Park and a “leash cutting” ceremony for the town’s new dog park there. The park is at 601 S. Academy St.

In a 2012 interview, now-retired Mooresville recreation director Wanda McKenzie told the Observer that she proposed the idea of the dog park, in part because Academy Street Park was little used by the community.

South Main Square expands center

The Business Center @ South Main Square, 442 S. Main St., Davidson, recently opened Kaleidoscope, a flexible meeting space for classes, events, meetings and gatherings.

The newly renovated loft-like space accommodates up to 75 people, and more space is available in the center next door for small-group sessions.

The Business Center @ South Main Square’s various meeting rooms include a conference room with the area’s only three-location video conferencing center. Other amenities include wireless Internet, presentation boards, a kitchen and rooms for small-group sessions.

Details: Center manager Katy Yager, 704-896-0094; kyager@roseassociates.com; southmainsquare.com.

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