Council enters into deal to fix Sun Valley intersection, speed Stone Theaters project
Instead of paying an economic incentive to Stone Theaters, the town of Indian Trail will put that money into road improvements. At the town’s Tuesday, Aug. 9 meeting, council members agreed to contribute $200,000 to repairing the roads around Sun Valley High. Earlier this year, the town approved a $30,000 traffic study for the area around Sun Valley Commons, where the theater is expected to go. The state requires a traffic study for any projects that could potentially add a significant number of vehicles to a road. That study pointed out something not surprising to many residents, the roads around Sun Valley need work.
“All you have to do is get out there at 8 a.m or 3 p.m., it’s dangerous,” council member Robert Allen said. Both town manager Joe Fivas and Allen, the town’s alternative delegate to the regional transportation committee, pointed out that stretch of road was already on the state’s list for repairs, with the project currently scheduled for 2018.
“We have convinced NCDOT (to) come up with a solution to an already failing infrastructure,” Fivas said. “We’ve come up with an agreement that will help us fund a road project.”
The project is similar to one finished last year, when the town contributed money and the NCDOT paid for the rest to help repair the intersection at Faith Church and Fairview-Indian Trail roads. In this case, the town will give $200,000 and the state will cover the additional $400,000 needed, as well as any cost overruns.
Repairs will be done to Old Monroe Road, Wesley Chapel Stouts Road, Sardis Church Road and Hwy 74. The goal of the repairs will be to reduce traffic congestion, enhance safety at the nearby Sun Valley schools and improve traffic flow. Union County Senator Tommy Tucker and District 68 Rep. Craig Horn helped secure the additional dollars, taken from state economic development funds.
“My son went to Sun Valley Middle and High School, it was a (traffic) zoo then and he’s 28,” Tucker said. “We knew dollars were there for road improvement and economic development.”
The Stone Theatres project is slated to open no later than July 1, 2012 with 14 screens as part of the Sun Valley Commons Phase III project. The final price tag for the Sun Valley project comes out to an estimated $60 million, with an estimate that it will add more than 500 jobs. The movie theater itself will hire up to 50 employees, Stone officials said. The project will add 27.7 acres to Sun Valley Commons, which will encompass 53 acres of retail and restaurants when complete.
“On our last two surveys, roads were the number one thing people wanted to see improved,” council member Darlene Luther said. “These roads are failing. Why isn’t the county involved, who put four schools there? Why should this all be on Indian Trail?”
A question of priorities
The concern for Mayor John Quinn and some residents wasn’t the road construction itself, but that the town had to pay for anything at all.
“The state is required to build the roads,” Quinn said. “We pay taxes to the state. Did Weddington pay for (the) Providence (road repairs)?”
In most places, Quinn said, developers are required to make road improvements, as part of the cost of doing business.
Local residents who live near the proposed theater also question why the town is helping to pay for road improvements, which they believe the developer should cover.
“We’re being strong armed by the Moser Group,” Michael Faulkenberry said. “We’re sick of this.”
Faulkenberry and his neighbors asked for a berm and a wall between their homes and the theater, because of the expected noise and some other issues.
“If it’s done right, it’s fine,” Faulkenberry said, while also raising concern about the location. He and his neighbors are concerned students will hang out at the theater and possibly spill over into the neighborhood.
A meeting between the developer and members of the neighborhood is scheduled for 8 a.m Saturday at the Moser Group building.