There’s still time to ask our County Board to recommit to funding the paving of Mallard Creek Greenway’s gravel stretch through University Research Park. The board, which held its budget hearing on Monday, will finalize the operating and capital-improvement budgets on June 12-13 before a final vote June 20.
Here’s what the board heard Monday and how to share YOUR thoughts, too.
The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners is nearing approval of the county operating budget for fiscal year 2018, which starts July 1, and a five-year Capital Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2019-2023. The Park and Recreation portion of the capital improvements plan provides $277 million through 2023, including about $119 million for a professional soccer stadium.
No longer in the plan is more than $70 million to finally complete 12 park and greenway projects whose funding was approved by voters in 2008 – including the Mallard Creek Greenway paving. Previous county plans have called for allocating $7 million-$8 million a year to finish those projects, whose total cost is about $72 million.
Money to complete 9-year-old project list
At Monday’s budget hearing, park and greenway advocates joined University City Partners in urging commissioners to recommit to funding those 12 projects. “We hear almost daily about the benefits of greenways,” University City Partners Planning Director Tobe Holmes told the board, noting that a 2015 survey found that two-thirds of Mecklenburg residents rank greenways as very important.
Darlene Heater, executive director of University City Partners, wrote board members about the extensive efforts put forth by UCP over the past three years to secure easements that will allow the county to pave the gravel stretch of Mallard Creek Greenway – a missing link for greenway users on wheeled vehicles ranging from bikes to wheelchairs.
“I respectfully implore you to recommit to greenway funding and dedicate a budget line for future greenways,” Heater said.
Park and Recreation Commissioner Rick Winiker also urged the commissioners to restore that funding commitment. “Park and Rec – you couldn’t get a better bang for your buck in respect to what Park and Rec does,” he said.
Ed Barnhart, president of the newly launched Greenways for Mecklenburg foundation, noted that greenways offer alternative transportation corridors as well as free and nearby opportunities for fitness and wellness.
Greenways are the No. 1 requested park amenity in Charlotte, he said. “Your constituents want greenways.”
How you can show support for Mallard Creek Greenway
Make your voice heard by asking commissioners to vote FOR the proposed $7 million-dollar annual budget line item that includes funding for Mallard Creek Greenway.
Email or call each County Board member by Monday, June 12, about the importance of restoring this money to the county budget.
If possible, include personal stories about how you use the greenway and how paving this last segment will help users like you.
County Board contact information
Ella B. Scarborough (Chair, At Large)
Pat Cotham, (At Large)
Trevor Fuller (At Large)
Jim Puckett (Vice-chair, District 1)
Vilma Leake (District 2)
George Dunlap (District 3)
Dumont Clarke (District 4)
Matthew Ridenhour (District 5)
Bill James (District 6)