South Charlotte

Mint Hill, Mecklenburg plans to buy 160-plus acres for parks

Park land is increasing in Mint Hill. Between the town and Mecklenburg County, more than 160 acres is slated to be purchased for the development of two parks.

Mint Hill commissioners are purchasing 27.5 acres at 9801 Brief Road, across from the Mint Hill Sports Complex, for $670,000. The town will pay half of that amount. A state Park and Recreation Trust Fund grant is paying the other half.

Mint Hill and the Town of Fairview in Union County were the only towns in the area to receive funding from a PARTF grant this year.

Mint Hill Town Manager Brian Welch said once the land purchase is finalized, the town would start searching for an architect to help with the park design.

Michael Kirschman, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s deputy director, said the county is planning to purchase 140.27 acres at 10631 Fairview Road to hold for a future regional county park. The land has substantial frontage on Fairview Road (N.C. 218) and a small amount of frontage on Brief Road, just up the road from the town’s new planned park. It will border a part of the Ashe Plantation subdivision and sit across the road from the Olde Sycamore subdivision.

In an email to Mint Hill elected officials, County Commissioner Bill James urged the town to amend transportation plans to ensure that Arlington Church Road, if ever extended, would not cut through the parcel.

Recently appraised the value of that parcel is $3.5 million, though Kirschman said a final purchase price has not been agreed upon. He expects Mecklenburg County Commissioners will vote to purchase the property in the near future.

Kirschman said 140 acres, as well as 87 acres of county-owned property (the old Ezzell Farm) off Matthews Mint Hill Road between Mintwood Drive and Well Road, that have been earmarked for a community park won’t be developed any time soon.

“We purchased the land for the parks we are currently developing between 2000 and 2004. We bank the land for future use. These properties will not be developed until sometime after 2019, as the funding for 2015-2018 is already in place and they are not included,” Kirschman said.

Plans aren’t in place for either park, though neighbors of the Ezzel Farms land say they would prefer a passive park. Plans will be drawn up when funding is available. Kirschman said once planning is underway, there would be plenty of opportunities for public input.

“We won’t duplicate any services that are already nearby. The reality is, these parks probably won’t get developed for 10 years. Nobody knows what residents will want by then, but we will have the land ready when it’s time to build,” Kirschman said.