Local towns discuss economic park options

Town Manager Brian Welch speaks at the October 3 called meeting of the commissioners of Mint Hill, Indian Trail, Matthews, and Stallings. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

On October 3, commissioners from Mint Hill, Matthews, Indian Trail, and Stallings met to discuss the potential advantages of grouping together to further economic initiatives in the community by establishing an economic partnership between the towns.

Presentations were given on how partnerships are planned, built, and managed, what advantages they offer to the communities involved, and how that could possibly benefit the four municipalities.

No action was taken at the meeting, but the idea of such a collaboration was discussed and action could be taken in the future.

Indian Trail town manager Joe Fivas spoke on the idea of establishing an agreement and what planning has gone into the idea so far.

“You can do your economic development, and you can spend about four or five hundred thousand dollars a year to be able to do that, or you can go and find other partners, public or private,” Fivas said, citing a study done by Indian Trail.

The purpose of a multi-jurisdictional business park is to attract businesses and jobs, with pooled investment and costs from a number of communities, in this case Indian Trail, Matthews, Mint Hill, and Stallings.

Davidson town manager Leamon Brice gave a presentation on how the communities involved in the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development.

Corporation established their business park among the communities of Davidson, Huntersville, and Cornelius.

Brice explained how the cities shared the investment and costs, and received the returns based on the ratio of investment.

At the end of the meeting, Mint Hill town manager Brian Welch spoke with Stallings town manager Brian Matthews on the next step in the process, which is to determine just what the communities want to accomplish.

“We don’t know what this is yet, and that’s what we need your help in,” Welch said. “Our logical next step as the town managers was the formation of a joint subcommittee, made up of one member from each town, and the town managers.”

That committee will determine where the interest lies, and what to do next, which could take the shape of a business park, economic partnership, or nothing at all.

“We don’t want to do work for the sake of work. That’s why we’re not presenting you guys tonight with a three-ring binder, saying, ‘This is what we’ve got, which one do you like?’” Welch said. “We’re looking for some nods to see if you guys are even interested in doing this, and the first step in this is to define it.”

The majority of town commissioners present showed an interest in continuing discussion and exploration of the idea, including Mint Hill commissioners.

“I think it’s worth going to the next step,” said Mint Hill mayor Ted Biggers. “Now, exactly what that step is, I don’t know, but I’m looking at further discussions and trying to bring things into focus.”

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