The Heaton family has one car, so when dad, Raymond, uses it to go to work, his wife and daughter have to bum rides from other family members or friends to shop and do other chores around Mooresville.On Aug. 1, their quandary ends when the Mooresville Main transit service débuts.Lori Heaton, 43, and daughter, Samantha Heaton, 18, joined 60 other residents at the Winnie L. Hooper Center on South Sherrill Street on July 24 to celebrate the upcoming start of the service and check out its 15-passenger “light transit vehicle.” The Heatons live in the Lynwood Farms subdivision off Main Street and will hop aboard the vehicle at the Charles Mack Citizen Center from now on to get to the Super Walmart and other destinations around town.The cost: $1 one way, $2 roundtrip.The town is partnering with the Statesville-based ICATS public transportation service to make 12 stops in a loop around Mooresville each weekday through at least next June.Residents who live within .75 miles of the loop also can call ICATS at 704-873-9393 two days in advance to be picked up in front of their homes, Iredell County Transportation Director Ben Stikeleather said. ICATS is part of Iredell County government but funds its $1.6 million budget entirely through revenue it generates and federal transportation grants, he said.The Mooresville Board of Commissioners put $60,000 in its 2013-14 budget for the first-time Mooresville Main service that town commissioners Mac Herring, Thurman Houston and Bobby Compton said they’ve advocated for years.“It’s part of our offering another service to the citizens of Mooresville,” Compton said at a public information session on the service at the Charles Mack Citizen Center on July 22. “Since I’ve been on the board, two years now, we’ve asked what more can we do, especially regarding transportation.” Commissioners expect many elderly and disabled people and others without enough cars in the household to greatly benefit from the service, which will make five stops each weekday at the 12 locations. They’ll evaluate ridership before funding the service again in next year’s budget but hope it will be so popular that the loop boundary will expand in coming years.“It’s one of the first things I brought to the board,” Houston, a seven-year commissioner, said at the July 24 celebration outside the Winnie L. Hooper Center. “We needed a bus route. I am up in the air about this.”Huntersville native Spencer Gant, 77, will be the driver of the route. He’s driven for ICATS (Iredell County Area Transportation System) for six years and said he’s driven all types of vehicles during the last 63 years, from cars to long-haul 18-wheelers.He’ll start the route at 8 a.m. at Merinos Home Furnishings in the former Mooresville Mills complex on South Main Street. He’ll then stop at the Charles Mack Center, Selma Burke Community Center, then make a stop on Patterson Avenue and then at Mitchell Community College’s Mooresville campus. Next he’ll stop at Catawba and Cabarrus avenues, Kelly and Alexander streets, the Winnie L. Hooper Center and then out N.C. 150 to the Consumer Square (Super Walmart), Winslow Bay (Super Target) and Mooresville Crossing (Best Buy) centers. Finally, he’ll head down Williamson Road and ultimately stop at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, before making the loop again at 9:29 and 10:58 a.m. and 1 and 2:29 p.m.Stikeleather said Mitchell Community College plans to offer a shuttle service beginning this school year between its Mooresville and Statesville campuses. So residents can also use the Mooresville Main to get to doctor’s offices and other appointments in Statesville.The vehicle also has two wheelchair stations and a 1,000-pound lift, which will come in handy for John Fetterson, 73, of Charlotte Street in Mooresville, who uses a wheelchair to get around. He and his wife, Mary Fetterson, 80, said they can’t wait to use the Mooresville Main to get to the grocery store and even to weekday church services.
Friday, Jul. 26, 2013
Mooresville transit service starts Aug. 1
Learn more: 704-873-9393.
Marusak: 704-987-3670; Twitter @ jmarusak.
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