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“In My View”

From The Desk Of Commissioner Jim Duke


Hello Everyone and Welcome New Readers,

             
    “Wilson” Goes to Town Hall!   Sporting a jaunty hat and a mask,   Wilson has been attending Town Board meetings in the hope of   reminding commissioners of the importance of listening to those who   voted them into office and expect their voices to be heard.  The hat   or Commissioner Sission who objected     to his baldness.  No   offense to our Town Manager and those commissioners who are challenged hair-wise.  My readers know that Wilson is the “Spokes Ball” for all things PARC and is reminding commissioners each meeting of the importance of funding our PARC maintenance programs.  Excess wear and tear plus Covid budget cuts have left our park venues with a serious backlog of repairs and precious little in the way of improvements.  PARC is asking for the minimum necessary [$300K] to catch up on safety and regulatory repairs.
My thanks to former Commissioner Gilroy for recognizing Wilson as a “quirky”, but effective messenger for venues that have become the envy of other towns and the face of Cornelius.  No other department impacts our citizenry in such a meaningful way.  In the Budget Survey conducted a few months ago PARC and our recreational venue funding was in the top three priorities for residents.

Wilson believes that it would be irresponsible to fail to properly maintain our investments in recreation.  If you agree, please take the time to tell our manager, Mayor, and commissioners that you want well maintained park venues that are clean and safe for our families to use.  Wilson says “listen” so give them something to hear.

Smithville Redevelopment:   Recently, community activists/stakeholders have stepped up and offered a plan to substantially alter the character and density of the Smithville Community.   Currently, Smithville consists of approximately 150 single family homesites that the stakeholders are lamenting need a total overhaul.  The community has long and historic ties to our Town’s past.  Principally a minority owned neighborhood, Smithville sits astride a two-lane east Catawba Avenue and is home to Smithville Park, an historic church, a community center, and adjacent small businesses.

The redevelopment plan presented to the Town Board on March 1st calls for the eventual tearing down of several of the older homes and replacing them with townhomes, apartments, and a few new single-family homes.  A few older homes would remain, but many existing mill era homes will fall to the wrecking ball.  Rentals would be provided at low rates based upon the ability of new residents to pay.  Planners believe that low-income housing is sorely needed in Cornelius.  However, density is the uphill battle that organizers may face as the plan calls for nearly doubling the number of residences within Smithville with little or no way to increase trafficability.

Land Use & Zoning:    As I reported last month there are forces at work to recraft our Land Use Plan and reconfigure our zoning classifications.  Our Mayor has worked diligently with a smart group of citizens that identified the need to craft a different plan that would address a lack of affordable workforce housing opportunities.  It is true that due to the upscale nature of our community and the rush by developers to build and sell relatively high-cost homes, affordable housing is scarce and getting scarcer.

COVID-19 Vaccine:   I got my shots!  It was amazingly efficient and heartwarming to see the smiling faces of volunteers who husbanded my wife and I through the process.  In and out at the Spectrum Center and Novant Health’s massive and efficient process in under thirty minutes.  I urge you all to get your shots when you can so we all may get back to normal.  Every news outlet and information source out there is urging folks to get vaccinated and continue to wear a mask.

Wilson says yes too!

Jim

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Cornelius Town Commissioner Jim Duke

17401 Staysail Ct

Cornelius, NC 28031

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