The Charlotte Observer
Union County News
Over 50 residents and business owners lined the aisles and stood in corners of the converted garage – known as the civic building – where Indian Trail Town Manger Joe Fivas recently presented a proposal for the town’s municipal complex.
The presentation cited these details:
▪ $7.98 million for land and building development of the municipal complex.
▪ The capital project will be funded from capital reserve funds.
▪ The plan would include a new town hall with a community center, Veterans Memorial Park and town square.
The council voted 4-to-1 to approve the financial and legal agreements, with Mayor Pro Tem David Cohn dissenting.
The municipal complex will stand in the downtown district on 15 acres across from Chestnut Square Park on Matthews-Indian Trail Road. The site will house a two-story, 19,900-square-foot town hall with administrative offices, a community center and council meeting chamber.
“The complex will be right in the middle of our downtown area with adjacent Chestnut Parkway bringing 20,000-30,000 cars right by it every day, and will be a part of the Indian Trail Downtown Master Plan,” Fivas said.
During a meeting in April 2014, town leaders decided to pursue building a new town hall. At that meeting, Fivas suggested a lot that could provide ample opportunity for the town’s growth and create a municipal campus with enough space for a town hall and additional buildings and offices. The 15-acre, town-owned site was selected by the council in a 3-to-2 vote in September 2014.
Fivas said town halls are vital landmarks that boost economic development by giving the town a central place for business and civic activity.
This capital project will cost the town $7,983,312.
Fivas said the financial recommendations were to spend $4 million in town reserve funds and finance $4.75 million through a 15-year loan with lowest-bidding lender, BB&T, at an interest rate of 2.51 percent.
The loan will be paid from a capital reserve fund that was established by town council. Fivas said the capital reserve fund averages $1.732 million annually and spends an annual $708,816 on the park bond, leaving $1,023,184 available for other capital projects. He said the first loan payment would be $429,931 and still provide an annual $593,253 cushion in the capital reserve for future projects.
Other town residents stood with Cohn in opposition of the municipal complex.
Kim Shelling, an 11-year resident and Navy Veteran, said she moved to Indian Trail for fiscal responsibility, low taxes and good schools.
She said the project infringed on the initial land agreement to use this property for park space. She also said she was concerned that the project had been pushed forward quickly whereas the widening of Monroe Road had been delayed to 2024.
Cohn said he was dissatisfied with the financial strain of the project.
“I think this is smoke and mirrors,” he said. “Your taxes will go up.”
However, many residents favored the project.
Shamir Ally, a one-year resident, said “Anything that doesn’t grow dies” and referenced the 450 new homes and apartments coming to Indian Trail as a major reason for a larger town government space.
Maureen Mulhall, general manager of Extreme Ice & Fitness Center, said her skating business has held meeting space for the Union County Chamber of Commerce and other civic groups for free because of Indian Trail’s lack of community space.
Mulhall concluded her speech by saying how town halls evoked childhood memories and gave community members and businesses a central meeting space that symbolizes growth and prosperity.
“I believe it gives us hope.”
Indian Trail council members approved the capital project at the close of public comments and construction is now set to begin in the fall. Fivas said the construction will take approximately 12 months.
STAY UPDATED ON THE PROJECT?
Mike Parks, town communication coordinator, said interested residents should visit the town’s website, http://www.indiantrail.org/ or stayed connected via social media.