Mecklenburg commissioners expected to endorse unified quality of life plan

Mecklenburg County commissioners are expected on Wednesday to endorse a rough draft of a unified plan between the county, city of Charlotte and other municipalities that are aimed at improving the quality of life.

The Mecklenburg Livable Communities Plan has been years in the making and involved residents, government and elected officials and the Foundation for the Carolinas to develop a vision from which all government entities in the county can plan for the future.

For the county, it will influence strategies for parks, natural resources, social services and improving the health of residents through policy, County Manager Dena Diorio said.

“It will provide a framework for our strategic planning,” Diorio said.

The plan’s idea came from a 2012 city-county feasibility study that found there was no unified vision that coordinated local plans and programs or established goals for the future with the help of public engagement.

Commissioners will also decide whether the county will hire construction companies to develop a budget for two county projects and assume the risk of completing those projects on time and on budget.

The projects include the $8.6 million renovation and expansion of the 24-year-old Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center and replacing security – mainly closing and lock mechanisms – at the county jails, said Deputy County Manager Chris Peek.

The county has used at-risk construction management before, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools uses the approach to build schools. Under the strategy, the contractor would be responsible for all cost overruns, Peek said.

“They are at risk if they don’t meet the timeline and budget,” he said. “They are putting their own skin in the game. It’s an opportunity to continue to find new and innovative ways to be more cost-effective and efficient.”