South Charlotte

Towns excited about 2012

Leaders in the three southern towns say they have some exciting plans for 2012.

Mint Hill, Matthews and Pineville all are embarking on much needed capital projects, and are making plans to maintain and improve services.

Here is a brief rundown of the coming year.

Mint Hill

The town staff is looking forward to moving into a new, $6.6 million town hall this summer.

The new town hall is being constructed on N.C. 51 just down the road from the existing facility.

Once that move is complete, the current town hall will be renovated and become the new home of the Mint Hill Police Department. The department now is housed in leased space across the street from the current town hall.

Town Manager Brian Welch says town hall and police department staff are looking forward to moving from cramped quarters to a space that can accommodate current needs and provide room for future growth.

He says residents can look forward to other improvements around town as well.

"We are eager to see the Korean War Memorial completed, and also looking forward to work beginning again at the mall (Bridges at Mint Hill) site.

"We are anxious to see the numbers and types of potential development that will arise when the mall project ramps back up. The town will be under significant development pressure as a result," Welch said.

He says there also are continuous efforts underway to get the Inter-Basin-Transfer moratorium lifted in Goose Creek Basin which would allow new water lines run to that quadrant of Mint Hill and allow more development.

The moratorium has been in place for close to a decade because Goose Creek is home to the endangered Carolina Heelsplitter.

Matthews

Matthews just completed a $748,180 improvement project at Squirrel Lake Park, half funded by a state grant. Now they are ready to start a $1 million project to renovate the old Ag Building, next to the Matthews Community Center, and add new bathrooms and partial renovations to the old Bradford Clinic, adjacent to Stumptown Park.

Town Manager Hazen Blodgett says they are also looking forward to the groundbreaking of the county owned Sportsplex, sometime in March.

Blodgett says they are focusing on improving town services as well.

"We're embarking on a Service Excellence project where we expect excellence from our staff both toward the public and each other. It's a staff driven initiative that's been developed by the rank and file. Our surveys show that our citizens are satisfied with the level of service they get from the town, but we know there's always room to improve," Blodgett said.

He said the town also is looking forward to the 20th anniversary of Matthews Alive!. This year the festival will coincide with the Democratic National Convention and organizers are hoping to capitalize on that.

Pineville

The police department recently moved into a new $4.6 million facility just across the railroad tracks from their old location.

Though the town has 7,000 residents, town administrator Mike Rose says between the hospital and commercial properties in the area, Pineville Police serve 30,000-40,000 folks each weekday.

He said the Pineville town council, with two newly installed members, will be busy in 2012 looking at a variety of issues.

"I think the first thing the council will be looking at is deciding what to do with the old police facility. Do we sell it? Do we renovate it for permanent council chambers or arts groups? Do we tear it down? There are lots of options as we prepare for the future," Rose said.

With increased demand for recreational services, Rose says the council also will begin looking at the 70 town-owned acres next to Jack Hughes Park to see how best to develop it for future recreational needs. He says the council will continue to keep abreast of land use to ensure good quality development.

Maintaining existing town roads will be another priority of the new board. And, as the town has its own electric and telephone companies, council members must also work to keep those utilities competitive as well.

Elected boards in all three towns will hold planning sessions or conferences in the next few monthsfor the coming year.

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