We’re all feeling it. The heightened frustration, short tempers and constant irritability to our every day lives that’s being escalated by the rapid influx of newcomers pouring into the Charlotte area like piranhas in a feeding frenzy. This influx is both exciting and extremely troublesome.
Exciting in that we are a growing and vibrant city . Extremely troublesome in that our city, county and private entities cannot provide current citizens with the level of services they need.
Service providers such as CDOT, CMPD, CMFD, CMS, and medical facilities are understaffed, underpaid and maxed out without the influx of newcomers. There is road rage, parking lot rage, grocery store rage, red light runners, more vehicle and pedestrian accidents , more homeless and more sick people .
CDOT and NCDOT cannot widen most city streets nor properly maintain them . Some federal funding has been eliminated. Many roads have faded lane stripes, potholes, run-over signs, rough pavement, patched pavement, faded painted cross walks, along with traffic backups at all hours. Tempers run high when people are put in bottlenecks.
CMS needs more schools to get children out of trailers and classroom equipment to keep up with the times. Many schools need renovations. We need more teachers, yet many are leaving for higher-paying jobs in other cities.
CMPD has asked for a 15 percent pay raise and more staff. More people means more traffic stops, homicides, domestic violence and all around more service calls and crime.
Underpaid and under-staffed CMFD and Medic are receiving a rise in calls. Patients wait hours for treatment in understaffed facilities. Hospital ED waiting rooms are filled to capacity with excruciating wait times.
Homelessness is on the rise. The Room at the Inn closed for the season and the homeless may find themselves living in cars in church parking lots … if all goes well.
Our nationally recognized City of Trees is being replaced by developments at alarming rates. Marshall Park could be reduced from 5.5 acres to a 1.77 acre postage stamp after its proposed development.
You don't want to hear this, but undeniably, we need to raise taxes and our politicians need to get over it. We cannot expect to provide the same level of services to the multitude of people who are coming here on the same dime. This should not be about political careers, this is about providing necessary services to Charlotte’s citizens. The city, county, and private entities need to come to a roundtable discussion and implement ways to grow responsibly, wisely, and with purpose because right now, we are screwed. We are on a one-way train heading for disaster and fast becoming another Atlanta, New York City or Boston, with no room to breath. We all feel it. You all know it. We are losing our Southern grace and soul, and our quality of life, for a bigger, faster, more congested city.
I’m all for change, well-thought-out change. But is the change we are experiencing right now worth the losses we are incurring? Is this the kind of change we will look back on and say, “Wow! Charlotte did a great job with it's planning and growth!”? I think not. We need to dig deep and research other cities for answers. We have a hell of a lot of work to do.