Matthews town board will see new faces after election
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Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013

Matthews town board will see new faces after election

  • Matthews candidates Here are the candidates in the upcoming municipal election: Mayor: Jim Taylor (incumbent). Board of Commissioners: John F. Higdon; Gina S. Hoover; Christopher L. Melton; Jeff Miller (incumbent); Joe Pata; Kress Query (incumbent); John Ross; John R. Urban (incumbent). Hear from the candidates: • The Matthews Chamber of Commerce and the Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly will host a Candidates Forum 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 22 at Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell St. • Meet and Greet, 5:30-6 p.m. • Informational Panel 6-8 p.m. Details: Matthews Chamber, 704-847-3649. Early voting If you are a voter registered in Mecklenburg County, you can vote at any of the 15 early voting sites. Early voting will start at the Matthews Library, 230 Matthews Station St., at 10 a.m. Oct.26; polls open until 1 p.m. Other early voting times: 1-4 p.m. Oct.27; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct.28- Nov.1; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov.2.

Economic development and traffic concerns are two of the major challenges facing the Matthews Board of Commissioners, with elections less than a month away.

Whatever the election outcome, the board will change.

Commissioners Suzanne Gulley and Nancy Moore are stepping down, and Commissioner Paul Bailey is running for the Mecklenburg County District 6 School Board seat.

Eight candidates are vying for six commissioner seats. Even if the three remaining incumbents are re-elected, there will be three new faces elected to deal with key issues.

The county’s newest Sportsplex is set to open in Matthews later this month and will bring a number of visitors to town for tournament play. Conceptual design calls for the large area of privately owned land next to the Sportsplex to be developed as a family entertainment center, including restaurants, hotels, shops and family friendly activities.

Mayor Jim Taylor said the right kind of development in that area will be key to ensuring Matthews benefits economically.

Because the town has few large tracts of undeveloped land and no other areas left to annex, continued board oversight of infill development and redevelopment also will be important to ensure those projects maximize the benefits for the town’s tax base and residents.

The other area of major concern is traffic.

The board recently voted to fund the widening of South Trade Street to alleviate congestion, even though South Trade is a state road. Taylor said the new board will need to work closely with the state to ensure Matthews’ best interests are kept at the forefront when transportation issues arise.

Relatively few voters could determine the composition of the new town board. In the 2011 local election, 1,841 of the the town’s 20,356 registered voters – about 9percent – cast ballots.

Taylor, running unopposed, said that no matter who wins, he believes the town will continue to move forward.

“Regardless of who wins the election, I think the direction of the board will remain the same,” Taylor said.

Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Melinda? Email her at m.johnston@carolina.rr.com.

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