Help Mecklenburg plan for our collective future

Help Mecklenburg plan for our collective future

Do you care about improving our parks, schools and social services? Be sure to add completing the Mecklenburg County Budget Survey to your December to-do list. Your responses could influence next year’s county budget priorities. Here are details about the survey as well as other ways you can learn about the county budget, the budgeting process, and how you can take part in shaping the final budget for Fiscal Year 2021.   Resident Budget Priority Survey (available through Dec. 31) Share your budget priorities for the budget year starting July 2020 (Fiscal Year 2021) by ranking services by level of importance. Learn how the county allocates and manages the current $1.9 billion operating budget, which funds: most parks and park programs throughout the county; a sizable part of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools budget; and numerous social services. The survey must be submitted by Dec. 31 and is limited to Mecklenburg County residents. The county says that most people complete the survey in 10-15 minutes. Online survey – To complete the survey online, click here. Paper survey – To complete a paper copy of the survey, click here for a list of 20 public libraries including University City Regional Library where paper surveys are available. You may download a Spanish version of the survey at the same link.   Balancing Act Budget Simulator The county offers an online Balancing Act Budget Simulator to help the public better understand the complex process of making choices on what to fund with limited resources. Using the simulator, you can learn details about Mecklenburg County revenue sources and expense categories in the current budget...
Help plan the future of our parks and rec

Help plan the future of our parks and rec

Mecklenburg County is crafting a new 10-year master plan for our parks and recreation programs and seeks our help. Your ideas will help our county board set goals and provide money  for new and improved parks, facilities and programs. County parks planners have created a program entitled the Meck Playbook to gather community ideas and craft the master plan. You can get involved, starting now!   How you can help: Attend one of the Adventure Fest planning events on Nov. 21 (free food and games for all ages as everyone explores the park and rec system together). Details below. Take a brief online survey on how you use our parks and what you want in the future – Click here to start. Learn much more about the 18-month planning process at meckplaybook.com. Sign up for email updates throughout the planning process.   Help kick off the Meck Playbook at these Adventure Fests Join parks staff for an entertaining time of exploring our park and recreation system via games for all ages, plus free food! Your ideas will help shape our future master plan. Locations and times: Revolution Park Sports Academy Time: Nov. 21 from noon to 1:30 pm Address: 1225 Remount Rd, Charlotte, NC 28208 Directions   Hornet’s Nest Park Williamson Pavilion Time: Nov. 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Address: 6301 Beatties Ford Rd, Charlotte, NC 28216 Directions   About the Meck Playbook Caring for our park system and planning for the future takes all of us. Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department is writing a new Master Plan, and we need your help developing a roadmap for the...
Early voting has begun for sales-tax increase, local races

Early voting has begun for sales-tax increase, local races

Early voting has begun for the Nov. 5 election, including races for Charlotte City Council and the Mecklenburg County School Board as well as a referendum on a quarter-cent countywide sales-tax increase. If voters approve the tax increase, the county board says it will use the estimated $50 million in new annual revenue for parks, schools, and the arts. The county operates 17 early-voting locations including the former Pier 1 store at 8802 JW Clay Blvd. in University Place (directions) and the Hal Marshall Center at 618 N. Tryon St. in uptown. All early-voting locations are open daily through Nov. 1. Click here for the full list of locations and times. For more details on the election including a sample ballot and polling place, visit the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections website.   Information on proposed sales-tax increase The county board is asking voters to approve a quarter-cent sales tax increase on goods and services purchased in Mecklenburg County. The current sales tax rate in Mecklenburg County is 7.25%, including a 4.75% state sales tax, a 2% countywide sales tax and a 0.5% transit tax. “If passed, the quarter-cent sales tax (increase) would generate approximately $50 million per year and help fund an array of arts and culture programs, parks and greenways, education programs and other services for residents,” the county says on its sales-tax webpage. If the measure passes, the county website states, funding percentages are expected to be: Arts and Culture – 45% County Parks and Greenways – 34% Education (teacher supplement) – 16% Arts and Culture/Parks for the Towns – 5% The Charlotte Observer recently reported...
We’re winning the war on litter!

We’re winning the war on litter!

First impressions matter, right? That’s why University City Partners recently began paying for weekly litter patrols along our highways. “There’s a huge difference, and I notice it everywhere,” says Tobe Holmes with UCP.   Other groups also are tackling litter, too! The Mallard Creek Initiative hopes you will join them this Saturday, April 27, for a Cleanup Day. The following weekend, Scout Troop 13 will be scouring Clark’s Creek Greenway and nearby trails in University Research Park for old tires, litter and other cast-offs.   About the UCP’s litter cleanup University City Partners began paying a contractor in March to clean up litter along North Tryon Street, W.T. Harris Boulevard parts of other major roadways within University City’s Municipal Service District. The state of North Carolina is responsible for the litter cleanup, but the state cleanup schedule has not kept up with the volume of trash. The contractor, Phoenix Landscape Management, is also working with property owners along these highways to keep their properties clean and mowed.   Mallard Creek Initiative Cleanup Day on April 27 This community group is concerned about the amount of trash on the roads, says one of its leaders, University City resident and Realtor Robin Faison. “We want to see a change in behavior from the citizens,” she says, and the group invites us to help them pick up trash this Saturday, April 27, from 9:30 am to noon. The group will gather at 9:30 in front of Nona’s Sweets, in the Worthington shopping center at W.T. Harris Boulevard and Technology Drive. Directions For more details, contact Faison at robin.faison@gmail.com.   Troop 13 Clark’s...
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...