Citizen academies are important because they expose residents to the inner-workings of their communities, creating a pipeline of knowledgeable leaders.
The Stallings Citizen Academy will have the advantage of hearing from some of the Charlotte region’s transportation authorities at its next meeting. The lineup of speakers is on par with a regional symposium.
The N.C. Department of Transportation will have a big presence. David Wasserman will discuss how roads get built and funded, while engineer Scott Cole will discuss state projects underway or in development.
Warren Cooksey will provide an update on Express Lanes projects along the Monroe Expressway and I-485.
Neil Burke. of the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, will talk about how the group prioritizes funding for projects. Jason Lawrence, a planner with Charlotte Area Transit System, will discuss the future LYNX Silver Line, which will span from Stallings to Belmont.
Fortunately, the town has opened the meeting to the general public. The meeting takes place 6:30 to 9 p.m. May 14 at Stallings Elementary School, 3501 Stallings Road.
Kudos to elected leaders
One of the biggest challenges facing villages and towns when it comes to growth is trying to influence development in unincorporated areas of the county. The rezoning of unincorporated areas happens at the county level, which generally has less strict ordinances than many of the communities on the western end of Union.
Mike Head of Indian Trail, Mike Smith of Weddington and Mike Como of Wesley Chapel deserve kudos for expressing their concerns about a couple of projects in recent months and calling for more collaboration among leadership.
These three elected leaders were among residents in opposition of a project that would have added 264 apartments, 70 houses and 60 townhomes to Poplin Road. County commissioners denied the request in March.
Stop, collaborate and listen
When school board members and county commissioners came together last month to discuss next year’s Union County Public Schools budget, there were no barbs or bickering between the groups.
From my experience, it’s not uncommon for such groups to have tense relationships. School boards generally believe they are underfunded. County commissioners believe school districts need more financial oversight.
Gary Sides, a board member with UCPS, noted how far the relationship has come between both groups in Union County since he and Melissa Merrell were elected five years ago. At that time, the groups were in a legal battle.
“In my 28 years in Union County, I have never seen the level of cooperation between the board of education, the county and our municipalities,” Sides said. “I think it goes to show when we all work together what good things we can do for students.”