Several years ago, leaders from the towns of Matthews, Mint Hill and Stallings joined together to form the Quad, a nonprofit organization established to help grow the regional economy and improve the quality of life for residents in the southeast corridor of Mecklenburg and the northern corridor of Union counties.
Members include elected officials, staff members and residents from each of the three towns.
While the group formed about two years ago, it was recently reinvigorated by the hiring of a part-time administrator and by subscribing to an online business property inventory system.
Economic development is big business as municipalities compete to draw new businesses and industries into their boundaries. New businesses bring in additional tax revenues to the cities and towns as well as provide jobs and other opportunities for residents.
While the Quad does not have an office with staff devoted exclusively to growing businesses in the towns, Mint Hill deputy town manager and Quad member Lee Bailey says it still offers tangible benefits to each town and is a step in the right direction.
“Since we are a nonprofit organization we can get a better deal on Microsoft products, GIS computer mapping, and other expensive hardware and software,” said Bailey.
“We’ve also contracted with Xceligent to keep an active commercial real estate inventory of properties for sale or lease in the towns.”
Mint Hill has a link to Xceligent on their website (visit www.minthill.com and choose Business then Economic Development) to assist businesses interested in locating to the area. They can see what commercial sites are available in Mint Hill and how those properties are zoned. Matthews and Stallings leaders say they will soon add similar links to their websites.
Matthews commissioner and Quad member John Urban says the group is also facilitating communication among town planners to help coordinate development along town boundaries.
“We are looking at the edges of our towns, blurring the lines. The planning departments are starting these dialogues and it’s working out well,” said Urban.
He says another big accomplishment is the recently completed inventory of recreational facilities of all three towns, an endeavor that will help the three towns work together to bring large tournament and other events to the region.
Kevin Woods, town manager of Stallings, says his Union County town is definitely on board.
“Stallings is very supportive of the Quad alliance — both as a collaborative organization focused on our shared interests in regional development, and as an easy way for our towns to coordinate activities, share ideas, and work together on common challenges,” said Woods.
“The Quad is still in its infancy, but its potential to add value to the south Charlotte communities is significant.”
Each town contributes $5,000 annually to the Quad, and the group recently hired Jim Korth as their part-time director. Korth’s duties include scheduling meetings, sending out agendas and minutes, record keeping, purchasing, project management and other items necessary to keep the group and its projects on track. He says the organization is a way to bring a distinct identity to the area.
“We would really like people to see the Southeast quadrant as a region. There’s a great quality of life here. We want to make sure that the towns complement one another, but at the same time, maintain their distinct and unique qualities,” said Korth.
Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Quad website is still under construction, but you may find out more by emailing Jim Korth at Jimkorth@gmail.com. The group rotates its bi-monthly meetings between the three towns. Next meeting is 1 p.m. Jan.18 at Stallings town hall.