Wesley Chapel sets sights on future, applauds past

WESLEY CHAPEL – Leaders from throughout Wesley Chapel’s short history came together this weekend to mark a big milestone for the village.

(Above) Mayor Brad Horvath speaks to a crowd of Wesley Chapel residents and local leaders before officially opening the new town hall on Weddington Road.

(Above) Mayor Brad Horvath speaks to a crowd of Wesley Chapel residents and local leaders before officially opening the new town hall on Weddington Road.

Wesley Chapel officials hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 1, to mark the opening of the new town hall building, located off N.C. 84 beside the Village Commons shopping center. The village council has conducted business in a meeting room at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church for many years, but will now conduct meetings and house staff at the new building.

Local leaders – including U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, Sheriff Eddie Cathey, N.C. Rep. Craig Horn, N.C. Sen. Tommy Tucker and three Union County Board of Commissioners members – were on hand to celebrate the opening and Wesley Chapel’s nearly 16 years as a village.

“Think about where you’ve come from as you move forward,” Cathey told Wesley Chapel leaders and residents on Saturday, reflecting on the village’s growth from what it was when he started his career in law enforcement 40 years ago – an area of Union County heavy on fields and light on businesses and stop lights. And while there’s been much change in Wesley Chapel since then, Cathey said residents haven’t lost focus of their values.

“The people here in this village are a reflection of (the best things) about Union County,” Cathey said. “Think about what your founders would do as you move forward.”

Many of those founders were on hand for the ceremony, including the village’s first mayor, Al Black, and second mayor, Mike Hafey, who received a standing ovation from the crowd for their efforts in building Wesley Chapel. Both spent some time Saturday giving a short history of the village, including detailing the many hours they and others put into incorporating the area after residents received news about Indian Trail’s plans to annex the neighborhoods in the late
1990s.

“We started with nothing – absolutely nothing,” Black said of Wesley Chapel’s first few months after incorporating on July 15, 1998 – before the town could collect its first round of tax revenues. “Everyone was a volunteer.”

“There wouldn’t be a Wesley Chapel without Al Black,” Hafey added. “We’d all be in Indian Trail.”

Wesley Chapel has grown from 2,500 residents in 2000 to around 7,500 according to the 2010 U.S. Census – all while keeping the tax rate low, at 1.65 cents this year, and now having constructed a town hall without incurring any debt. The town will have expenses with the maintenance and other bills related to the town hall, but currently has enough revenue to handle the cost.

It’s a remarkable accomplishment, Pittenger, the area’s representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, said – especially given the debt concerns he said he deals with daily in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Brad Horvath, who recently was re-elected and is the town’s fourth mayor, gave credit for the accomplishment to leaders throughout the village’s history, while pointing out Wesley Chapel’s other current project – Dogwood Park – should open in around two months and also be a debt-free project.

“This has been the result … of the fiscal prudence shown throughout (Wesley Chapel’s) 15 years,” Horvath said. “… If we can continue to work together like this … I honestly think we can move mountains.”

The new town hall is located at 6490 Weddington Road. The village asks that anyone with memorabilia showing the area’s history consider donating it for inclusion in a display inside the new building. Email clerk@wesleychapelnc.com for more information.

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