Waxhaw targeting quality of life improvements

WAXHAW – Town leaders in Waxhaw say they’re moving into the new year with plans to improve overall quality of life for residents.

The challenges Waxhaw faces in 2013 are just chances for the town to make itself a better community, town Mayor Pro Tem Erin Kirkpatrick said.

“Our biggest challenges are really our biggest blessings and opportunities for 2013,” Kirkpatrick said. “Waxhaw is learning to grow together as a strong multi-faceted community. We are building on the character we know and love … (by) investing in our community and increasing our community members’ quality of life.”

Commissioner Brett Diller said there are three main areas of focus for Waxhaw in 2013, starting with transportation and road projects already in the works. The town currently is working with area landowners to coordinate projects like Kensington Drive, where storm drainage pipes are being repaired and improvements are being made to the bridge. Trees are being planted and road core samples are being taken to validate road construction standards, according to the town’s Facebook page.

Many residents expressed concerns about why Kensington has not been opened yet. Town Manager Mike McLaurin explained that the town had little control over the road, since Wells Fargo bank owns it for now.

“I agree that everyone is frustrated,” McLaurin said in a comment to a concerned resident on the town Facebook page.  “Because the bank owns the road and is responsible for the repair steps and schedule, the town cannot tell them how to do their schedule. Before we can accept the road it’s important that the road meets the town’s approved standards. Some parts of the requirements may be done after the road is opened by the bank. I believe that the bank is interested in getting the project completed.”

The town also is acquiring land Diller said could be used for quality of life improvements.

“We have moved forward with some land acquisitions that I believe will make the town more ‘user friendly’ for residents,” Diller said. “We need to use the recently adopted Pedestrian Plan as a guide for future parks and greenways while making downtown more walkable.”

The town also is working on the sign ordinance and downtown area plan “so current and future businesses have less red tape to go through in getting set up or making changes,” Diller said. “The kind of businesses the town residents would like to see was discussed recently at an open forum. A lot of good ideas were discussed. Too many to list, but a feeling that some of the more everyday items like shoe and clothing (stores) and a small-scale neighborhood grocery store would be nice.

Also, businesses that employ 25 to 50 employees would be ideal. More opportunities for people who currently have to drive into Charlotte to stay here instead.”

The third challenge and goal Waxhaw faces in 2013, according to Diller, is continuing to foster a better economy.

“The economic vitality of the town has gotten better over the last few years, even with the awful times many of us are facing,” he said. “There is still plenty of room for improvement. The town is working toward being more attractive to current and new businesses, while trying to keep its charm. Striving to increase the residential ownership opportunities in the downtown core will expand the customer base for businesses, which in turn will be their lifeline for economic growth.”

Kirkpatrick said there are many things for Waxhaw residents and visitors to be excited about in the new year.

“We will be having a big rollout party for our town in the early new year, delivering our town goals by which the public can hold us accountable,” she said. “We anticipate breaking ground on new municipal facilities, including a community center, more downtown parking and parks. Christmas 2013 will bring an even brighter future for Waxhaw, with more Main Street Christmas lighting topping 100,000 lights, festivities and a new economic development plan.”

For Kirkpatrick, Waxhaw has only one direction to go – up.

“Waxhaw’s brand and marketability will become more pronounced to better serve the long-term goals of success,” she said. “Waxhaw has the opportunity to grow together and stay together.”

This story is part of Union County Weekly’s continuing series on what topics will be most important in our towns in 2013. To see stories focused on Marvin, Stallings, Weddington and Wesley Chapel, visit www.union countyweekly.com and search for the town’s name followed by “2013.”

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