University City

The many sides of Highland Creek

As one of the new freelance columnists for the News of University City, I will be writing a column about the many sides of our community.

I recently spent some time in Highland Creek, talking to residents. It's always great to meet new people and learn more about different areas of Charlotte.

As I drove through Highland Creek, I was struck by the beautiful flowers surrounding the stone fountain, and the great landscape work. But more than that I was struck by the energetic yet peaceful vibe of the neighborhood. I saw people pushing strollers, walking dogs, taking leisurely strolls or running.

Linda Carino, president of the board of directors of the Highland Creek Community Association, originally thought the neighborhood was too big (36 neighborhoods, 4500 homes and 14,000 residents), but the subdivisions within Highland Creek appealed to her. She felt the strong sense of the entire community, even though she chose to live in a smaller development.

"Neighbors are close," Carino said. "We do things together, and there is a lot of diversity."

Because of its size, the neighborhood leadership consists of nine board members on the Highland Creek Community Association. One board member is responsible for handling community affairs and community outreach. That's a great idea for any neighborhood.

Each of the six sub-associations has its own board of directors. The individual neighborhood regulations differ depending on the type of housing.

Highland Creek board member and treasurer Janet Sirhan says she loves the social groups and activities for people with a wide variety of interests.

"You could never ask for more here ... because it's so much to do for all ages," she said. Sirhan and her husband say they love Highland Creek because it's similar to their former South Florida home. They enjoy the lakes and golf.

It could be argued that Highland Creek is more than a neighborhood. Some might see it as a village, a small hometown or a mega-neighborhood. The community association even has a security committee. The neighborhood has a strong Neighborhood Watch presence.

Instead of a neighborhood newsletter, Highland Creek publishes a magazine called The Highland Creek News six times a year. The February edition was 36 pages, full of a wide variety of information about neighborhood events, services, advertisements and more. It even included a listing of at least 40 neighborhood baby sitters available. The neighborhood management company, Hawthorne Management, assists with publishing the magazine, and residents contribute articles.

Board members Sirhan and Carino say the size and layout of neighborhoods in Highland Creek make it unique - especially the design of the parkway. The challenge they see is keeping the neighborhood at the level it has reached.