Mint Hill Madness, the yearly festival that has been presented by the Chamber of Commerce for the last three decades, took center stage at last Thursday’s Board of Commissioners’ meeting.
The Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce is relinquishing their management of the event turning that responsibility over to a nonprofit organization that will be created solely to manage Mint Hill Madness.
Nancy Bradley and Marty Cocking of RelyLocal, presented the board with information and plans for the future of the festival, citing the mission of the new Madness, “to bring back vitality to Mint Hill Madness by repurposing the festival to support local 501(c)3 charitable organizations to foster community and help rebuild economic growth in Mint Hill.”
The proposition is to create a board of directors that will manage the nonprofit, Mint Hill Madness, which will make all executive decisions regarding the festival.
The plans, as presented by Bradley, are to establish the 501(c)3 to qualify for more funding from corporations, to allow the funding to spread to other local nonprofits, and for Mint Hill Madness to be an umbrella corporation for other events throughout the year.
The 501(c)3 status will help Madness to access pools of money set aside by corporations that are earmarked for 501(c)3 organizations exclusively.
Members of the Chamber of Commerce, town staff, local businesses, and charity organizations will make up the board of directors, but the organization itself will be volunteer-driven, with only one paid position, a part-time event manager.
The new Madness will still offer the same rides, food, booths, and attractions that residents are used to, but with a new marketing strategy that includes a website, social media and email marketing, as well as digital and print advertising.
After the event, proceeds will be distributed to nonprofit organizations, depending on their level of involvement with the festival.
“I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’m the only person in this room that was involved in Madness when it started,” said commissioner Tina Ross, who stressed that any money to be made at Madness would have to go back to the organizations that helped with the event.
“I hate to see it get to the point where we’re giving it away to somebody else to make money off of it, yet we’re on the hook for it if it doesn’t make money, and it’s not made money in several years, I believe,” Ross said.
Main concerns from the commissioners were the liability on part of the town, the integrity of the festival, the money needed, and where the proceeds from the festival would go.
“I’m pretty sure we’re about to get in the festival business, I don’t think we have a choice if this event is going to go on,” said town manager Brian Welch, adding later, “Ultimately, I would envision the town being the financial backstop.”
“I think the problem the board is presented with now is the timing,” said Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers. “With just a short few months away from Madness, there’s not a group in place that’s going to come forward and take this on. It’s a tremendous project now, it’s grown tremedously over the past few years.”
Mayor Biggers added that he felt, for the event to take place this year, the town is going to have to try something different, at least for the 2013 Madness, and made the recommendation to move forward with the proposition.
“Right now we need to get rolling so we can make sure Madness takes place,” Biggers said.
The Board decided unanimously to move forward with an agreement to appoint a board of directors to manage the nonprofit, 501(c)3 corporation Mint Hill Madness, which would handle all planning and management of the event, including hiring the event manager.
The formal motion that was adopted unanimously was for the Town Board to instruct the town manager to work with Nancy Bradley and Marty Cocking to help set up a 501(c)3 and negotiate a sponsorship agreement with the 501(c)3 to bring back to the board.
In other matters
ź The Mecklenburg County Quality of Life study was presented by Bill McCoy, of UNC-Charlotte, Timothy Tibbs, assistant to the county manager, and Dr. Owen Furuseth, director of metropolitan studies and associate vice chancellor for extended academic programs at UNC-Charlotte.
Tibbs was tasked with making this year’s quality of life study to include all of Mecklenburg County, as opposed to the study done two years ago, which only includes the city of Charlotte.
The new study includes much more data, new, expanded categories of data, and new, more involved mapping systems, and an interactive website that allows anyone to look up the data down to the neighborhood, and even house-to-house.
The new website features an interactive dashboard feature, and is compatible with any computer, tablet, or smartphone, and will replace the long-form printed version.
For more information, visit charmeck.org.
ź Discussion also continued with what is to be done about Bain Auditorium, which residents of Mint Hill have been trying to save from demolition.
CMS has not imposed a deadline or schedule to when they would demolish the building, but Welch said his opinion is that they would likely demolish the building this summer.
Commissioner Ross said the Mint Hill Historical Society has formed a group that is working to save the building, saying that she has spoken with Guy Chamberlain, of CMS, who said he was willing to take the building off of the demolition list.
The historical society has a meeting scheduled for February 19 at Town Hall regarding saving the building. The historical society has formed a committee to help save the building.
ź╩The Board also considered a change to the conditional zoning process, which would allow potential builders in Mint Hill to ask for and receive the town’s approval earlier, as to not invest too much into a property that could get denied by the town.
ź The board discussed developments to petition #ZC12-10, filed by Albermarle Road Associates for a change of conditions at Clear Creek Business Park. The list of by-right uses has been refined, and the issue moved to a later date for further discussion.
ź The board also read and adopted a resolution to request assistance from the North Carolina General Assembly and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to fund roadway improvements along Lawyers Road at Interstate 485 in conjunction with the Bridges of Mint Hill development.
ź The board also adopted a resolution donating the remaining furniture from the old town hall to Boy Scout Troop 65.