Sign up for swim lessons: Three sessions of swim lessons for teens and adults (ages 13 and older) of all swimming ability levels are scheduled to begin Jan. 6, 7 or 11 at the University City YMCA. Sessions will meet 7-7:45 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; 7-7:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; or noon-12:45 p.m. Saturdays; for eight classes each. Whether your goal is to improve your breathing, swim faster, learn the butterfly or get that flip turn just right, the YMCA can help you achieve it. Adult swim classes have an open format so that individual goals will set the pace. The cost is $79 for members and $109 for program participants. Registration is first-come, first-served. Search for classes and register at http://register.ymcacharlotte.org/Default.aspx?TabID=314. For more information, call Ame Guy, aquatics director, at 704-716-6725.
Pet photos with Santa: Having a photo taken on Santa’s lap is still a holiday tradition, and now family pets can be included. Animal-lovers will have an opportunity to bring their furry friends to Pet Night with Santa at Concord Mills 6-8 p.m. Dec. 16 in the mall’s Neighborhood 2, near Books-A-Million. Prices vary based on the photo package chosen. Pet Night is for domestic pets only, and all pets must be leashed or in a carrier. Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets, as well as for their pets’ behavior while at Concord Mills. For more information, call Guest Services at 704-979-3000, visit www.concordmills.com or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConcordMills.
Wouldn’t want to walk there: According to an article by the UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute, Walk Score, the national rating system, ranks Charlotte as the worst large city for walkability. See the report at www.walkscore.com/cities-and-neighborhoods. The top-rated city was New York, followed by San Francisco, Boston, Washington and Miami. Walk Score measures how many amenities are within easy walking distance as well as population density, street connectivity, block length and intersection density. It doesn’t take into account whether sidewalks exist (although Charlotte wouldn’t rank high in that regard, either), but whether such things as nearby grocery stores, coffee shops and other walking destinations exist. Walk Score also accounts for factors like block length and intersection density. Many parts of Charlotte were developed during the cul-de-sac era, when streets intentionally did not connect to anything.
Take the survey: Through early December, nearly 3,000 local homes received requests from the city of Charlotte to participate in a survey. The survey is designed to provide a baseline of how the city government is serving residents, to gauge perceptions of the city and to make comparisons with other peer cities. Residents who received the survey by mail are urged to take few moments to provide their perspective. The survey includes questions about quality of life in the community, local policies, demographics, ratings of local government services and resident use of services. The city contracted with the National Research Center to participate in the National Citizen Survey, an instrument that was developed with the assistance of the International City/County Management Association in 2001 to provide cities with a low-cost method to conduct market research.
The survey is offered in both English and Spanish. An online option is also available in order to help achieve a high level of participation. The city will use the study data to enhance program planning, budgeting, goal-setting and performance management. A report on the community’s feedback will be available in early February.