One area the Town of Waxhaw doesn’t get the credit it deserves is the hiring of talented staff, including town managers, department heads and the people that work directly with the citizens.
I want to take an opportunity to highlight Curt White, who served nearly five years as downtown development manager. He left Waxhaw this month to begin the next phase of his career, working as assistant director of operations at SouthPark Mall.
Downtown Waxhaw is similar to a mall when you consider the 103 businesses, of which 45% are restaurants, in just a 0.11 square mile. I’m taking these numbers directly from the Downtown Economic Impact Report that White drafted last year.
He tracked vacancy rates, oversaw grants to enhance walkability and developed strategies to make downtown more of a destination. In 2018, the town won a Great Main Street award from the American Planning Association.
White worked alongside analytics firm Buxton in an effort to recruit the kind of upscale retailers that residents had grown tired of driving to Charlotte to experience. One of the key findings from that partnership is while the Waxhaw area certainly had a desirable level of wealth, it didn’t quite have the daytime traffic a lot of its targets were looking for.
White was the influencer behind the town’s millennial task force, a group charged with finding out what would lure and retain a younger demographic – pretty cutting edge stuff for a town the size of Waxhaw.
Among the findings from his 2016 report was that Waxhaw should build on its strengths, such as historic downtown and downtown dining, to develop a sense of place. It also called on the development of “third places,” which are venues outside of home and work for people to hang out.
While this particular millennial left Waxhaw for an exciting career opportunity, his work helped make downtown a better place.
Road survey is promising
I was very encouraged to see the survey the town put on its website in preparation for developing the Waxhaw Master Transportation Plan. Yeah, yeah … I know what you’re thinking … Waxhaw and its plans.
But this one could create some healthy debate based on some of the questions on the survey.
The survey asked residents to prioritize the top five unfunded or underfunded roads: Rehobeth Road and N.C. 75, Waxhaw-Marvin intersect, Waxhaw-Marvin widening, Waxhaw Parkway East, Waxhaw Parkway West and downtown improvements.
It later asks if Waxhaw should take a bond for transportation or establish a transportation reserve account, as well as if the county should put a quarter-cent sales tax referendum on the ballot or ask the state to assess a $25 registration fee to go toward transportation improvements.
Summoning Marvel villain Thanos to snap his fingers to rid the universe of developers is not going to fix congestion in Union County given the growth coming to the Charlotte region. But if he were to delete half the universe again …