The time for parks is now!

The time for parks is now!

A message from Darlene Heater: Our campaign for more parks now in University City and Charlotte moves forward. In the past two weeks we have: Addressed our Mecklenburg County Commissioners, who fund our parks, about the crisis of an exploding population and disappearing land for new parks. Helped launch Voices4Parks.org, a website that explains why commissioners must take action now, as they shape the budget that begins July 1. Kept working with parks boosters countywide to light the fire under elected officials.   If you share our passion for parks, join us, now! Visit Voices4Parks.org to learn why there is little time left to act for parks. Read our April 15 call to action to the Mecklenburg County Board. Send your own message for parks to the County Commission. Get contact info here. There is still time. Our commissioners do listen. Let’s make a difference, now!   Thanks. Darlene Heater, Executive Director University City...
Why parks? Why now?

Why parks? Why now?

Darlene Heater, executive director of University City Partners, addressed the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners on April 15, 2019, about the urgent need for funding to buy park land. This is the text of that address. Dear County Commissions, County Manager and Parks Director, Thank you for allowing me time on the Monday evening public comments agenda to share the reasons that parks are important to building livable communities that attract and serve residents. I am sharing them in written format via this email. As I shared, land for parks is disappearing before our eyes–and especially so in high growth areas including University City. I am urging you to plan for our future that will include easy access to parks. We are at a tipping point, and parks make Charlotte livable, inclusive, healthy. And, they strengthen our community fabric.   Parks reflect a community’s quality of life Parks are a tangible reflection of the quality of life in a community. They define the shape and feel of a city and its neighborhoods. They provide identity for citizens and are a major factor in the perception of quality of life in a given community. Parks also ensure the health of families and youth and contribute to the economic and environmental well-being of a community and a region. Access to parks and natural amenities is the foundation of great places – they are what attract people … and investment. Most importantly, public parks can provide rich and equitable opportunities for all residents. Here’s why:   Parks create community People gather to share experiences, socialize and to build community bonds in common...
Where Will They Play?

Where Will They Play?

We need more parks now – YOU CAN HELP A crisis caused by Charlotte’s explosive growth and government inaction threatens one of the most important assets of every truly livable city – public parks.   A recent nationwide study revealed that Charlotte has the least parkland per person of any comparable city in America! Mecklenburg County has added nearly 200,000 residents in 10 years yet provides virtually no more parkland for 1.1 million people than it did a decade ago for 900,000. Now, land prices are soaring while sites suitable for new parks are being lost to development. A University City without parks Nowhere is the situation more dire than within walking distance of University City’s growing community.  University City Partners and the Parks Department staff jointly funded a parks master plan five years ago—anticipating this growth. Nothing in the plan has been done. That radical change can happen – with your help, now! The time is now for all of us to tell commissioners that we demand more and better parks. Our commissioners will respond when enough citizens call for change. Email each of the commissioners. Encourage friends and family to do the same. Together, let’s make that happen. Darlene Heater Executive Director University City Partners Email addresses of decision makers and email copy for easy action. lee.jones@mecklenburgcountync.gov Dena.Diorio@mecklenburgcountync.gov Vilma.Leake@mecklenburgcountync.gov george.dunlap@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov ella.scarborough@mecklenburgcountync.gov pat.cotham@mecklenburgcountync.gov trevor.fuller@mecklenburgcountync.gov elaine.powell@mecklenburgcountync.gov Mark.Jerrell@mecklenburgcountync.gov Susan.Harden@mecklenburgcountync.gov susan.rodriguez-mcdowell@mecklenburgcountync.gov Want a shortcut to writing your emails? Feel free to use any or all of the content below: RE:  More Parks Now for University City Please fund parks so our Future University City will have vibrant, active and safe park spaces...
Learn about NC 49 ‘Superstreet’ at April 23 meeting

Learn about NC 49 ‘Superstreet’ at April 23 meeting

ARTICLE UPDATED MARCH 19, 2019 The state Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting on April 23 to share plans to transform 1.2 miles of University City Boulevard into a six-lane “Superstreet” and close the Back Creek Church Road railroad crossing. The meeting will take place 4-7 pm April 23 in the Lucas Room at UNC Charlotte’s Cone University Center. The meeting will be held drop-in style, with state staff available to explain the project, answer questions and receive comments. Parking is available at the Cone Parking Deck. Directions Visit the project website for details and a survey about the plans.   Project details The state plans to convert part of University City Boulevard near UNC Charlotte, now a four-lane divided highway, into a six-lane “Superstreet”. The Superstreet design would eliminate most left turns and straight-across traffic between John Kirk Road and I-485. The design is intended to reduce current heavy congestion and help the highway absorb significantly more traffic in the future. Construction of the $41.8 million project could start as soon as summer 2022. Along with widening University City Boulevard, the state project has three other significant components: Extend Mallard Creek Church Road, which now ends at University City Boulevard, southward under the NC Railroad Corridor. This roadway is also called the Eastern Circumferential. Close Back Creek Church Road just south of the NC Railroad Corridor, as a way to improve safety along the rail line. Create new ways for local traffic to circulate once the railroad crossing is closed. The state cites several reasons for the project and its design, including:   Improved traffic volume,...
Cleaner streets ahead for UCity

Cleaner streets ahead for UCity

University City’s highways will soon receive extra TLC. Starting this spring, University City Partners will pay a contractor to clean up litter along North Tryon Street, W.T. Harris Boulevard and parts of other major roadways within University City’s Municipal Service District. The contractor will also work with property owners to keep grass mowed near the curb. Work crews will focus on North Tryon Street between the I-85 connector and Mallard Creek Church Road; on W.T. Harris Boulevard between University City Boulevard and Mallard Creek Road; and on stretches of other major arterials throughout University City’s Municipal Service District, said Tobe Holmes, with UCP. “We’ve got a group under contract, and I expect to see quick advances on our issue within a month,” Holmes said.   More litter than state can handle Holmes said that the state of North Carolina picks up litter and mows rights-of-way two-three times each year along state-maintained roadways, including North Tryon Street and Harris Boulevard. “Due to the massive amount of land under their management, their efforts can’t keep up” with the volume of litter along North Tryon and Harris, Holmes said. “Our supplemental efforts aim to ensure that University City remains beautiful throughout the year.” Mowing will be done on an as-needed basis and aimed mostly at publicly owned areas and the edges of sidewalks. The contractor will also work with property owners to keep their land mowed and free from litter. Holmes said that some owners do not realize that they are responsible for the strips of land between the street and nearby sidewalks and parking lots. The contractor will notify private property...
Urgent-care center to open at Clay parking deck

Urgent-care center to open at Clay parking deck

Atrium Health plans to open an urgent-care center this summer in the parking deck at the Clay Boulevard LYNX Station. The center will meet a growing need for convenient health care in the heart of University City’s light-rail business district, says Bill Leonard, president of Atrium Health University City. “The University City area is growing, and access to walk-in urgent-care service is underserved in our market,” Leonard said. Atrium Health operates more than 30 urgent-care facilities throughout the Charlotte region. The centers provide general medical care for minor injuries, illnesses and health exams. Most centers are open 8 am-8 pm seven days a week.   Medical services for residents, students and workers The new center at the Clay Station parking deck will offer typical urgent-care services of diagnosis, treatment and testing, including X-ray and basic lab services. “With the proximity to so many jobs, we will fully support occupational health efforts in the area,” Leonard said. People with more severe illnesses and injuries are directed to hospital emergency rooms. Atrium Health University City’s emergency room is the busiest in the Atrium Health system. Leonard said that Atrium Health expects to see a slight decline in those numbers once the urgent-care center opens nearby. Atrium Health recently signed a 10-year lease for 2,325 square feet of space in the Clay Station parking deck. The deck might seem like an unlikely place for a medical facility. However, along with its 800 parking spaces, the deck includes more than 15,000 square feet of space on the ground floor for offices, shops and restaurants.   Growing regional crossroads Most important, “The access is just...