Tuesday, 11 July 2017 17:32

Farewell to town hall, but not to my town

Written by  Chuck Travis

Editor’s note: Chuck Travis is a two-term Cornelius town commissioner and two-term mayor. Following is an open letter to the town’s residents to address the state of the town and to formally announce he is not seeking re-election.

As fellow architect Daniel Burnham once said, “make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.” During my time as mayor of Cornelius, I have focused on elevating the “vision” of what our town can become, not just for today, but what we have the ability to become in the years ahead. My other priority has been to build cooperative relationships throughout our region and state. Cornelius should have impact beyond our town limits with a “seat at the table” when policy decisions that will affect us are being made. I joined the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition of North Carolina, where I was elected vice chairman, to lead conversations regarding the urban areas with other mayors of the largest cities from around our state. Building strong friendships with state legislators and leaders in the nation’s capital has been important as we build partnerships for enabling us to move forward as a town.

I consider myself to be a facilitator of positive change, always having my town’s best interest at the forefront and never shying away from making difficult decisions. During my time as mayor, I secured funding for more than $120 million in transportation improvements, more than at any time in our history. Our PARC Department has expanded and updated parks throughout town, as well as recently completed more than two miles of new greenway trails that will eventually connect to Huntersville and Davidson when the entire system is constructed. We have built more than 100 miles of sidewalks and bike lanes to encourage walkability and bike riding. Our Cornelius Arts Center has a framework in place to build a facility that will become an attraction for the entire region and have significant economic impact in the redevelopment of our historic town center and emerging arts district. Public art adorns our town along Catawba Avenue and Robbins Park, and memorials to honor our veterans and remember 9/11 are located at Town Hall and Fire Station 1. Keeping our community safe has been a major priority with the purchase of fully equipped fire and ladder trucks as well as expanding our Police Department to provide lake patrol for coverage on the lake 24/7, 365 days a year. We have accomplished this and much more while continuing to maintain one of the lowest tax rates of any municipality in the state.

As evidenced by our expansive growth over the last 25 years, we are woefully behind in infrastructure and our focus must remain on transportation improvements. Commercial development opportunities will be provided with a new proposed Exit 27, and north/south corridor improvements along Highway 115, Highway 21 and West Catawba Avenue will provide alternate options to using Interstate 77 as our major connection to adjoining towns. Our “Main Street” will start to live up to its name, with new infrastructure to encourage redevelopment. Corporate offices and light manufacturing will create a more self-sustaining community to minimize the need to travel away from our community for work. We are currently creating a comprehensive plan for housing to include all incomes and allow everyone the opportunity to continue living in our town as we prosper and grow.

I have been involved in our town for more than 11 years, serving three years on the Planning Commission as a member, chairman and creator of the Architectural Review Board, four years as a town commissioner and the last four years as your mayor. Eleven years of giving back has been an extremely rewarding and impactful part of my life, and I am thankful for the opportunity and the faith that you have placed in me.

As I complete my second term as mayor, I will not be running for re-election. I will continue serving as a board member on the North Carolina Turnpike Authority as appointed by House Speaker Tim Moore, and weigh my options to serve our town and state in other capacities in the future.

In closing, I encourage anyone interested in running for elected office in our town to put your name on the ballot. We need candidates who can represent the diversity of our wonderful town, who are critical thinkers and want to have a positive influence on the future of Cornelius.

May God continue to bless our Town.

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