Wednesday, 01 June 2016 07:54

Davidson adds parking spaces

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- The Town of Davidson, in partnership with Davidson Presbyterian Church, has opened 31 new all-day parking spaces in downtown. The town’s public works department made improvements to the church’s parking lot at 116 Depot St. to provide spaces to the public. Parking is available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The lot is reserved for church use on Sundays.

“We know parking has been a challenge in town, and we are so happy to offer this lot as an option for our citizens,” says Davidson Economic Development Manager Kim Fleming. For more information, contact Fleming at kfleming or 704-940-9622.

SHERRILLS FORD, N.C. -- In conjunction with the Lake Norman Water Ski Club and Carolina Show Ski Team, Lake Norman Marina will host the Towed Watersports Summer Kick-off event on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m to noon.

Exhibits by O’Brien, the Lake Norman Ski Club and the Carolina Show Ski Team will provide education about the organizations and the chance to ask experts questions about equipment and tips to enhance their experience with towed watersports. Mini-seminars will be conducted by local experts including nationally rated boat driver Justin Landers and Water Ski Hall of Fame award recipient John Gillette.

Wednesday, 01 June 2016 07:50

DPD warns against ‘HOPE’ collection

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- The Davidson Police Department has reported that a group called HOPE for Domestic Violence has returned to the area to conduct a drive for clothing and household items. It is distributing orange bags to homes in the area, claiming to collect items to be used in “two recovery homes” for victims of domestic violence.

“The bottom line is that none of our victim advocates and/or law enforcement groups are aware of where their ‘two recovery homes’ are located,” said Davidson Police Chief Jeanne Miller. “I would recommend not donating to this group. If you are interested in making a donation, please contact me and we will put you in direct contact with groups that we know are directly servicing Mecklenburg County victims.”

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Indications are that the water tower left standing as a lonely reminder of what used to be at the Anchor Mill site in Huntersville will evolve into a centerpiece of what’s to come as the 30-plus acre, otherwise empty site undergoes a renaissance into a mixed-used downtown development.

As part of its due-diligence process prior to finalizing the purchase of the long-abandoned acreage, the Huntersville-based Bowman Development Group has obtained structural evaluations and renovation estimates on the tower’s columns and tank, leading to the conclusion that the 120-foot-tall link to the town’s past can not only be preserved, but also transformed into a prominent promotional piece for the property.

“The conclusion is that the integrity of the metal is solid and that the structure is salvageable,” said Nate Bowman, president of Bowman Development. “Our plan is to keep it and, if we are going to make that effort, we want it to be a showpiece. We want to showcase it as part of the project.”

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- Davidson town commissioners have suggested a few minor changes to the town’s proposed budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year. But one thing didn’t change in the numbers presented to commissioners during their May 24 Town Board work session — the total amount of the town’s spending plan.

Finance Director Pete Swart said that the proposed FY 2016-17 budget is $10,521,214, a 6.29 percent increase from the previous year of $9,898,837.

“This budget, we worked diligently to try and meet a lot of the needs that we had talked about over the past few months,” Swart told commissioners. “That’s why you’re seeing a significant increase in expenditures this year that does outpace the projected growth. But what we’re also doing, it’s not strictly increasing revenue for the coming year, we had some gap from prior fiscal years as well. This budget is essentially at the same level as the actual revenue from two years ago.”

The changes from Town Manager Jamie Justice’s recommended budget presented on May 10 came from increases of $2,500 to the town’s Arts and Sciences Council contribution, and a $12,500 increase to service agencies. But there were also areas of some savings — $50,000 toward economic development, and $39,241 from the town’s health insurance and wellness program adjustments.

That allowed town staff to increase funding for capital projects fund to $200,515. The previous proposed budget had allocated $126,274. “I think we’ve worked on an incredibly bare-bones situation for the foreseeable past, and we’ve done so on purpose,” said Mayor John Woods. “I think we’ve got a wise budget in front of us here.”

However, the overall increase in the town’s budget, according to Justice, was to take care of some one-time and recurring funding issues that had been put off in past years.

“I view this budget as where we are catching up on a few things that have been in the queue to get done,” Justice said. “Our revenue is there to address that. ... It’s something that we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”

The working budget has $1,118,208 allocated for its recommended needs list — $429,781 for recurring items, and $688,427 for one-time costs. Among the recurring items are funding for new personnel in town administration, the police department and fire department; an increase in pay for part-time firefighters and to the town’s merit pay increase fund; among other expenses.

The list of capital expenses included a new sport utility vehicle for the fire department to serve as a command vehicle for Chief Bo Fitzgerald; funding to replace the fire department’s thermal imaging cameras; and the addition of wireless hotspots at Roosevelt Wilson Park, the town green and McEver Fields.

“I think we can commit to that one-time number ... that we can re-use as much of that to pay off any debt service if we get the bonds passed,” Commissioner Stacey Anderson said. “I think we’re still playing catch-up, so I think it’s important that we do this.”

In previous meetings, commissioners discussed floating the town’s first bond referendum to meet future capital expenses.

Fire Station No. 2

Commissioners also received a report on the site plan, artist’s renderings and potential budget for the construction of Fire Station No. 2 for the Davidson Fire Department on Davidson-Concord Road near the Historic Beaver Dam house.

The new station would be built on a 4.368-acre lot to house two pieces of apparatus and personnel, but could be expanded to add a third fire truck and additional personnel as needed, according to Fitzgerald.

“It fits our needs right now very well,” Fitzgerald said. “The best thing about it is, if we have to expand our service out there at some point because of development, there’s room and a plan to do that. But right now, we can do it at a reasonable price.”

Building the new fire station should cost about $1.4 million, according to estimates from general contractor Southern Constructors of Mooresville, based on the design plans from architectural firm Labella Associates. Add in the “soft costs,” and Fitzgerald said the estimate rises to approximately $1.69 million.

“That’s including all the things that the town is going to provide that aren’t in the construction estimate,” said Assistant Town Manager Dawn Blobaum. “Things like permitting and fees ... things like furniture and appliances. But we’re looking to get the best we can get, at the cheapest we can get it.”

Fitzgerald said that bidding on the project could begin in July, with construction possibly beginning in October. If that timeline holds up, the new station could be finished in eight months, putting its opening in May 2017.

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- Two items relating to the future development of town-owned property were among business discussed during the Davidson Town Board of Commissioners’ May 24 work session at Town Hall. Commissioners heard an update on the ongoing Downtown Catalyst Feasibility Study, and the initial outline on a request for proposal for developers on the Beaty Street site.

The Catalyst Study — the proposed redevelopment of a 3.5-acre block surrounding Town Hall — has been ongoing since September 2014. The town has been working with consultants with the UNC School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative (DFI), which is providing the expertise to determine the development potential of the area.

The goal, Community and Economic Development Manager Kim Fleming said in discussing the guiding principles of the study, is to find the highest and best use for the town-owned land to connect the downtown commercial areas between North and South Main Street and improve parking, all while maintaining the character of the downtown area.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- A basic environmental evaluation of the 76-acre Hopewell High School campus and surrounding area in southwest Huntersville uncovered no clues or known conditions linked to the statistically abnormal occurrence rate of ocular melanoma (OM) among individuals with direct ties to that community.

A 393-page report by the Hart Hickman environmental consulting firm — hired by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in April — cites an absence of “recognized environmental conditions” (RECs) identified as cancer-related factors.

The Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment was initiated to detect the presence of any hazardous substances or conditions that could be connected to cancer, and specifically to multiple cases of OM, an extremely rare eye cancer that has been diagnosed in three former Hopewell students during the last 10 years and several others with ties to areas near the school.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- The Huntersville Police Department will celebrate the opening of its new satellite office in Birkdale Village Saturday (at 16915 Birkdale Commons Parkway above Brixx), June 11, from 10 a.m. to noon and invites the community to attend. The space is provided to HPD free of charge to use in its continuing partnership with the Birkdale Village management.

For more information, contact Lt. Kevin Tatur at 704-464-5400 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- A new policy adopted last week by the Huntersville Town Board of Commissioners spells out — for the first time — the basic qualifications and procedures regulating municipal appropriations to non-profit organizations and other similar agencies active in the community.

A resolution identifying groups eligible for town grants, appropriations or contractual financial agreements, and the town’s authority to evaluate applications and audit agency operations, earned unanimous endorsement from commissioners. The action was taken to provide town leaders with a blueprint to use when deciding about future contributions to agencies and service organizations.

In explaining the resolution to commissioners, Town Attorney Bob Blythe said much of the wording was pulled from existing guidelines used in other North Carolina towns and cities. And in response to questions about the wide range of organizations that can identify as non-profit operations (in conversations about the issue at the annual planning retreat and at previous meetings, commissioners cited the National Football League as one example of an agency that, technically, meets the non-profit standards), Blythe explained that the agency’s intended role will remain the most important factor to consider.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016 17:07

Towns make plans for Memorial Day

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. -- An enhanced version of Growers’ Market festivities on Saturday, May 28, will kickoff Memorial Day Weekend celebrations in Huntersville.

The town’s weekly Growers’ Market gathering, at Huntersville Elementary School near the Gilead Road/N.C. 115 intersection, will run from 8 a.m. to noon and will feature a variety of locally grown produce and a selection of other items. And it will also feature some special entertainment provided by Little Dreamer Productions.

The group will join the Growers’ Market activities starting at 8:30 a.m. and host a celebration that will include a D.J., games for the entire family, face painting and a balloon twister. The event is free and open to the public.