Complex to bring road upgrades

Improvements to several Mooresville-area roads are in store with the coming of America's Park, the $20million national youth baseball complex being built on 170 wooded acres between Mooresville and Troutman.

The N.C. Department of Transportation plans to pave Rankin Hill Road, which leads to the site, from Judas Road to an Interstate 77 overpass, DOT District Engineer Patrick Norman said last week. The state also will add left-turn lanes at three America's Park access driveways on Rankin Hill Road, Norman said.

The park's developers will have to improve the Cornelius Road-Judas Road intersection to get their driveway permit from the state, Norman said. Improvements include adding a southbound left-turn lane on Judas and a westbound right-turn lane on Cornelius.

America's Park is being developed by three partners, including Lou Presutti of Salisbury, who operates a smaller youth baseball complex in Cooperstown, N.Y., called Cooperstown Dreams Park.

Mooresville Transportation Planner Neil Burke mentioned the planned road improvements at a joint workshop of the Mooresville Board of Commissioners and Planning Board last week.

Once the complex opens, the state also intends to study traffic movement in the Judas Road-Cornelius Road area to determine whether a traffic light will be needed, Burke said. The developers would have to pay for the study and, if needed, the light, he said.

Beginning in June 2012, America's Park will host players ages 8-13 and their families for weeklong tournaments. Officials expect at least 80,000 visitors from mid-March through mid-November each year. Players will live in 60 cabins on site; their families are expected to book up to 100,000 room nights a year at local hotels.

The complex is expected to generate $70,000 a year in property tax revenues for the county and $300,000 a year in sales tax revenues, local economic development officials have said. The complex is in Iredell County, but Mooresville officials said they intend to annex the site within two years.

America's Park also will be a catalyst for a long-proposed I-77 interchange at Cornelius Road, Mooresville Planning Director Tim Brown said. Planners said they hope the town Board of Commissioners this summer will approve a $100,000 feasibility study on the interchange. The Federal Highway Administration requires the study before an interchange can be built.

Expansion eyed at old mill complex

The developer of the old Mooresville Mill complex is already set to expand after recently opening a furniture and rug outlet in a mill building at 500 S. Main St. that he spent months refurbishing.

The town Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday on developer Michael Bay's request for a permit to allow for phase II of his project: 178,000 square feet of additional retail space. The hearing will be at town hall, 413 N. Main St.

Accelerated road widening "unlikely," official says

Getting the state to accelerate the widening of West Catawba Avenue from Jetton Road to Sam Furr Road is "highly unlikely," commissioner Jim Bensman said.

"It has to be designed first, and a decision has to be made about utility line burial and whether to go further than Westmoreland (Road)," Bensman said in a May 27 email newsletter.

"Estimates to bury utilities have run over $15million, over twice what West Catawba cost," he said. "We don't know how much the widening would cost, either, or what the financing options would be."

Bensman told subscribers to his free newsletter that the town will still look at the issue carefully and keep residents advised, "but it is not a ... priority right now."

Bensman was responding to an earlier email newsletter from Mayor Jeff Tarte, who said the town is having preliminary discussions with the N.C. Department of Transportation about moving up the widening by several years.

The state isn't planning to widen that stretch for at least seven years, but Cornelius could advance money to DOT to begin sooner than that, in several years, Tarte said. When state money becomes available for the widening, the town would be reimbursed with interest, Tarte said.

DOT official to update plans for HOT lanes

On Wednesday, Barry Moose, division engineer in the N.C. Department of Transportation's district office in Albemarle, will discuss plans to convert Interstate 77's high-occupancy vehicle lanes into toll lanes and extend them to Exit 28 in Cornelius.

The N.C. Board of Transportation is expected to approve the $64.6million project in July as part of the state's latest Transportation Improvement Plan. Approval of the plan is usually a formality.

Work is scheduled to begin in late 2014 or early 2015. Construction would take about three years.

Moose will speak to the Board of Commissioners at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in room CH-14 in the basement of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. Fourth St., Charlotte.

Amiad USA relocates to Mooresville

Amiad USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amiad Filtration Systems, a leading manufacturer of industrial water filtration systems, is moving its U.S. headquarters from California to Mooresville.

The Amiad USA unit will be combined with PEP Filters/Arkal Filtration Systems as part of its recent acquisition by Amiad Filtration Systems, Amiad USA President Tom Akehurst said. Amiad Filtration Systems is based in Israel and is 45 years old.

Amiad USA will move by the end of the year to a 42,000-square-foot building at 120 Talbert Road.

Up to 25 jobs could be added over several years, Akehurst said.

Lowe's adding 300 IT jobs at headquarters

Lowe's Companies Inc. is adding 300 information technology jobs at its Mooresville headquarters, the company announced.

Positions include business analysis, engineering, communications network, e-commerce, application development, program management and project management.

View open jobs and apply at