South Charlotte

Security cameras coming to 2 parks

Seven security cameras linked to a sophisticated cloud computing system will allow Waxhaw police and other town officials to monitor and record activity at two downtown parks.

On Jan. 13, the Waxhaw Board of Commissioners agreed to accept a proposal from Sonitrol Security Services to install a video surveillance system at Waxhaw Sk8 Park and the adjacent David G. Barnes Children’s Park. They specified that the cost was not to exceed $24,000 for the equipment and installation, and $4,200 for annual operating expenses.

Waxhaw Parks and Recreation Director Natalie Jackson said the surveillance system would be an important tool in improving public safety at the parks. She said the high-definition cameras would help the town catch rule-breakers and help identify and reward park visitors who strictly adhere to the rules. She said their names could be entered in a drawing for a prize.

After the meeting, she said the system would be installed and operating before spring.

The Waxhaw Sk8 Park, which sometimes serves as an informal meeting place for local teens, has been closed several times since it opened in 2006 because of problems with littering, vandalism, safety concerns and criminal activity. Parents with children playing at the David G. Barnes Children’s Park have complained about improper language and behavior from teens at the skate park.

The agreement to install a video surveillance system at Waxhaw Sk8 Park and the David G. Barnes Children’s Park was one of several decisions made by the Waxhaw Board of Commissioners at its Jan. 13 meeting.

The board also took steps to renovate an historic downtown property known as the Duncan McDonald House, and annex 18.5 acres along Kensington Drive.

The town owns the Duncan McDonald House, which was built in 1888 by the town’s first postmaster. Restoring the single-story frame house could cost as much as $300,000, according to interim town manager Greg Mahar. The commission voted to instruct town staff to prepare a budget amendment and begin a request-for-proposal process that would allow the board to vote on the house’s renovation at a future meeting.

Town Attorney Chaplin Spencer said the county had deeded Waxhaw 18.5 acres along Kensington Drive, and the board would need to hold a public hearing at its February meeting to move forward on the annexation and zoning process required to incorporate the land into the town’s park system for trails.

Mahar also provided an update on renovations to a leased building that will serve as Waxhaw’s new town hall. Painting, new carpeting and other improvements will be completed soon on the former medical office building next to Bojangles, and town staff should be able to begin moving in late January or early February.

In other business, the board tabled a decision on condemning property at Gray Byrum and Providence roads to widen the intersection to create turn lanes and put in traffic lights.