WESLEY CHAPEL – As leaders in Wesley Chapel see construction crews hammer out the details on the new Dogwood Park and town hall, Mayor Brad Horvath is looking into the near future as he runs unopposed in this year’s election.
There likely won’t be much excitement in November’s election for Wesley Chapel, as Horvath could only be unseated by a write-in campaign and there are only two candidates running for the two open council seats. Michael Como and Jeannine Kenary are likely to be elected along with Horvath, as current council members Kim Ormiston, the town’s mayor pro tem, and Howard Brotton opted not to seek re-election.
Union County Weekly has conducted candidate surveys through the past month, asking candidates in each town questions specific to their campaigns. Though Wesley Chapel candidates are running unopposed, they were still given the option to answer questions this week. Como and Kenary did not respond to calls by press deadline.
Relevant Experience: Mayor of Wesley Chapel from 2009 to 2013; council member from 2005 to 2009
Education: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. (1973-74); Sayville High School, Sayville, N.Y. (1969-1973)
Family: Married for 39 years; six children, 11 grandchildren
Years lived in Wesley Chapel: 8.5 years
With the park and town hall coming into place, what do you think should be the next big project Wesley Chapel works on?
Since we have largely depleted our financial reserves for the aforementioned projects and not incurred any debt, it may be a while before we can undertake any “big” projects. However, I would like us to work with our committees and council on laying the groundwork for one or more of the following:
• EMS location in Wesley Chapel (possibly on 2+ acres of village-owned land behind 201 Central)
• Phase 2 of Dogwood Park (playground and/ or community center)
• Determine a usage for remaining 4 acres of village-owned land behind the town hall which may be a formal use or an informal one
Should Wesley Chapel do more to draw in commercial development?
This is a very complicated question as the village will have more commercial development when conditions warrant, but at the already-existing central node at the intersection of Weddington-Monroe Road (Hwy. 84) and Waxhaw-Indian Trail Road. Most commercial development is a factor of the number of houses in the surrounding area, and our residents have clearly indicated that they approve of the current housing density. However, we are beginning to see an increase in requests for housing developments in the area. That must also be coupled with further infrastructure development, especially roads, and it has been well documented that the availability of funds at the state level for doing so is limited. Lastly, it would certainly be helpful if the state ad-valorem formula for distributing sales taxes was amended to ensure that other municipalities do not get a larger share of taxes generated in the village than we do, because it is ultimately the village that will incur costs related to providing increased security, etc.
What do you feel is the most important issue facing Wesley Chapel today?
What I really feel is the most important issue facing Wesley Chapel today, for the last several years and certainly for the foreseeable future, is to deal with the explosive growth the area experienced over the last 10+ years. The village population has tripled in size over the U.S. Census years of 2000 to 2010. Part of this was growth and the building of subdivisions in the area. Another part was from voluntary annexations of other properties that have decided Wesley Chapel is “a great place to live and raise a family.” What that growth has meant is an influx of people drawn to the rural atmosphere and great Union County schools, but it also has meant that the very rural atmosphere many moved here for is changing to a more suburban atmosphere. Whether we like it or not, we are a Charlotte suburb and are more of a bedroom community; and there is nothing wrong with that. But many residents, including those that have been here for many years and those just arriving, are struggling with the blending of various cultures and customs. So, like many of our neighboring towns, we are working to become more of a community, and I think that many residents here want and need that kind of an atmosphere. But everyone has to work together to determine what we will become and how we treat one another. I really think we can get there if we are willing to not only talk to one another, but listen as well, and then be willing to come to a shared vision of what Wesley Chapel will be.