Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How Should Our Region Grow? Residents' Input Sought At Open Meetings

Residents in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County will have a unique opportunity to provide input that will help to build a planning framework to address the region's growth and ensure the continued vitality of local communities.

The first of five "CONNECT Our Future" open houses will be held onWednesday, February 6, from 4-7 p.m., in the front concourse of Bojangles Coliseum, located at 2700 East Independence Blvd., Charlotte.

The open houses will allow participants to drop in anytime during the three-hour period to view exhibits explaining the challenge of future growth and the process to address it, talk to local government staff and fill out a questionnaire to provide their input.

Other open houses to be held within the City of Charlotte include:
Monday February 11, 4p.m.-7 p.m., East Stonewall AME Zion Church, 1729 Griers Grove Road
Tuesday February 12, 4 p.m.-7 p.m., Crossway Community Church, 6400 Prosperity Church Road
Wednesday February 20, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Wells Fargo Atrium, Charlotte Center City
Thursday February 21, 4 p.m-7 p.m., Sharon Presbyterian Church, 5201 Sharon Road

Residents will be asked what they value about their community and region, and what they think are the biggest regional challenges. That input will be developed into evaluation criteria and used later in the process to evaluate scenarios for how the region could grow. Providing input will ensure that the perspective of residents of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County is incorporated into the process.
The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are among the more than 100 local governments, businesses, and non-profits participating in the three-year "CONNECT Our Future" initiative to develop a regional framework for the growth of the 14-county region. The growth framework will help to ensure the region can match growth with good quality jobs, transportation; quality housing that is affordable, clean water, improved air quality and other social and physical infrastructure improvements.

In the past decade, the region surrounding Charlotte has emerged as America's fastest growing region of any area with a population greater than 1 million people. Within 20 years, the population is expected to grow by 50 percent, and double by 2050, meaning the addition of more than 2 million people to the region. The region is also one of the largest in the nation without a framework for growth. The framework will be built on existing community plans, public engagement, and local values. The framework will contain policies, strategies and tools for voluntary use and adoption by local governments, and will also create a network of relationships across the region to address the challenges faced by individual communities and the region as a whole.

Residents are not required to attend an open house nearest to them but may attend the event in another community, based on what is most convenient. Other open houses in the Mecklenburg County region include:
February 5 Belmont Belmont Abbey College, Haid Ballroom, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
February 7 Huntersville Huntersville Town Hall, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
February 18 Matthews Matthews Town Hall, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
February 19 Mount Holly Mount Holly Municipal Complex, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

The three-year planning process to build a regional framework is funded by a federal grant administered by the Centralina Council of Governments in partnership with the Catawba Regional Council of Governments, both of which are helping to coordinate, facilitate and staff the process. To learn more about this initiative, visit