INDIAN TRAIL – Mayor Michael Alvarez is excited to continue serving the community.
Alvarez has served as mayor since 2011. He wants to continue to give back to a community that he believes has many strengths.
“If you want to know the strength of Indian Trail, Indian Trail is the strength of Indian Trail,” Alvarez said. “It has great people, it’s a great melting pot, we have great businesses and great organizations that help the town. I just can’t imagine living anywhere else and I want to continue to try my best to give back to the community that gives my family a place to live and be a voice for as many people as possible.”
Alvarez said his biggest goal for the new term is to continue bringing the community together. He said an important part of how the town government functions is input from the residents.
“It takes everybody’s input to create the community you want to live in,” Alvarez said.
When residents give Alvarez their input, he wants to relay the input to the council so that they can make the best decisions possible that benefit both the residents and the town in the long haul.
“My hope would be that the council is forward-looking, not just five or 10 years, but 50 years into the future,” Alvarez said. “How are we going to impact our residents?”
While Alvarez said he is always excited to work with the board, but he’s especially excited for this board because it includes commissioners with different areas of experience. The board is comprised of Todd Barber, Shirley Howe, Marcus McIntyre, Mike Head and Jerry Morse.
“Together, they have a dynamic that comes from every angle you could possibly think of to hopefully complete a circle that creates a good, cooperative working government that is for the people,” Alvarez said.
One challenge the board will need to take on, Alvarez said, is the roads in Indian Trail, especially Monroe Road.
Alvarez wants to ensure Monroe Road continues on track. He hopes the board can advocate giving the residents as much of what they want as opposed to giving the state total control over design. While he doesn’t know how this will be accomplished, he said the board will keep “pounding at” the N.C. Department of Transportation to get their point across in a friendly, yet assertive way.
Ensuring the progress of other roads in the area, including U.S. 74 and the arterial roads around it, will also be a priority for Alvarez and his board.
Another issue Alvarez wants to tackle is the county-wide water issue. He said county commissioners raised the water rates significantly.
“We’d like better clarification on that from the county,” Alvarez said. “Not that it wasn’t needed, but it would be nice to get better clarification why and ensure, as a leader of this community, to ensure that the taxpayers’ money is going to better the project and better the water service for Indian Trail as well as surrounding communities. We have to protect our community tax dollars.”
Taxpayer dollars have gone toward the Indian Trail downtown project, which Alvarez said residents can look forward to in the future as it continues to develop.
The downtown project is part of the town’s “smart growth.” Alvarez believes bringing more commercial growth to Indian Trail, rather than residential, will benefit the town greatly.
“Start to move away from so much housing and look toward the economic growth with corporations that would find our low tax rate and our proximity to Charlotte and our proximity to South Carolina and the highways ideal to bring whatever product they build or whatever call center they might have to provide better paying, career jobs where someone can work in Indian Trail and come here to work. That would be smart growth.”
He said smart growth would also include pushing for more funds for Union County to repair what is old and “bring it up to standard.” Alvarez wants the town to look at what is economically sound and will benefit the town without draining resources. He said knowing what is happening in the county will also help with smart growth.
Another challenge Alvarez has personally faced is his health. He is a cancer survivor and said he is healthy now. He said his only problems are his “battle scars” from radiation and other procedures.
“If that’s all I have to deal with, I’m very glad,” Alvarez said.
Over Thanksgiving, Alvarez had a hernia and needed to have an operation. He said community members who knew about the operation brought him and his wife meals so they wouldn’t need to cook, even going the length of bringing a full Thanksgiving dinner. He said this affirmed the unity he sees in the town.
While there have been and will be challenges, Alvarez is proud of his board’s accomplishments in the last term, which he said included the town’s veterans memorial, the partnership with the NFL and the Carolina Panthers, resident Chuck Denny’s PTSD stamp initiative and the town government’s overall unity compared to previous years.
He enjoys many aspects of the mayoral role, like working with students at Union County Public Schools, interacting with community members and making an impact on the town. Giving back to the town is his favorite part.
Moving forward, Alvarez said he is excited to see projects come to fruition and frustrations come to an end. He looks forward to seeing traffic alleviate and having workable, accessible, safe roads in the future.
“That would be a really nice feeling,” Alvarez said. “Although we don’t have control over those particular items, it’s nice to know that Union County is on the state’s radar once again and is working together.”