Mint Hill hears from Tarte, Brawley at Town Hall

by Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

State Rep. Bill Brawley and Sen. Jeff Tarte answered questions from residents about state matters. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

State Rep. Bill Brawley and Sen. Jeff Tarte answered questions from residents about state matters. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

State representatives Bill Brawley, House District 103, and Jeff Tarte, Senate District 41,  stopped by the Mint Hill Town Hall Saturday, April 13, to field questions from residents and give insight into pressing state matters.

Less than 20 people attended the meeting, but among them were Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers and town commissioners Lloyd Austin and Mickey Ellington.

The meeting began with discussion on the proposed formation of an airport authority fot the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

Brawley is the primary sponsor of House Bill 104, which is creating the airport authority, and cited that the Charlotte airport is sixth in the nation for number of flights, and twenty-seventh by number of passengers.

“We hit way above our weight class, as far as number of flights,” Brawley said. “Part of the reason is because of the low cost to operate out of Charlotte Douglas, and that has been because of the way the airport has been managed for a number of years.”

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Town Hall construction nears completion

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Construction on the new Town Hall is nearing completion.  The two-story building is currently awaiting carpeting, stucco finishing, and sidewalk brickwork.  Major construction is practically finished, and the installment of smaller details is underway.

Upon entering the building through the front doors, visitors will be facing the entrance to the assembly room.  The new assembly room is larger than its present counterpart.  The Board of Commissioners’ long desk is set, made of a dark wood that matches the doors.  The ceiling stretches through the second floor, taking over the entire center of the building.  Still to come are the fabric wall coverings.

The hallways wrapping around the assembly room on both the first and second floors are open to the public.  The hallways on the back of the building are for artwork, and gallery lights have been installed.

Offices are accessed through key cards and are located off of the public areas on the left and right of the building.  To see a town staff member, visitors can go to the receptionist windows located on both floors.

Since the building was designed to last 50-100 years, some of the offices will not be immediately occupied.  A space is provided for a possible administrative assistant to the town manager, and open offices can be used as conference or training rooms.

The monumental granite stairs, the more utilitarian back stairway, or the elevator give access to the second floor.

Finishing up the outside construction involves adding stucco and laying the brick walkways in the front of the building.  The outside materials were chosen in part due to their durability and low maintenance.

Energy-saving motion sensor lights were installed in the offices.

“They were smart when they spent their money,” said Edifice project executive, Scott Fandel.  “I think they did a good job of planning for the future.”

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Old and new Town Hall building plans

The Board of Commissioners met June 21 for a mini-retreat to discuss various issues regarding the plans for the new and current Town Hall buildings.

The current building will be renovated for the future police department.  Construction will be minimal.  Most walls will be kept as they are to keep costs low.  Chief of Police Tim Ledford is reported to have approved the plans.  The biggest renovations include enclosing the area between the John M. McEwen Assembly Room and the rest of the building, possibly adding a facade to the face of the building, and adding public parking at the front of the building, as the back will become enclosed.

The board considered furniture and procedures for acquiring and displaying artwork in the new Town Hall.  Cushioned, armed chairs are being considered for the new assembly room.  Commissioners expressed a desire for historical images of Mint Hill to be displayed throughout the building, as well as local art.  They considered creating an art committee to work with arts organizations and professional decorators for display guidelines.

Other topics discussed included the future of cultural events that historically took place at the Town Hall, including Movies on the Lawn, June Tunes, Mint Hill Madness, and the lighting of the Christmas tree.  They also discussed the cost effectiveness of moving the tree and the possibility of cutting it down.

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Park and Recreation Committee met

The Park and Recreation Committee met at the Town Hall June 12 to discuss and approve the police department’s National Night Out event to be held at Fairview Park August 7.  This event is held across the country and allows police departments to provide safety tips to the community.

The committee also discussed the Pine Lake Country Club Junior Open to be held September 7-9.  The event, sponsored by orthodontist Dr. Wesley Robinson, may be large enough to require extra tennis courts.  Free clinics the weekend before or after the event have been offered in exchange for use of the public courts.

The town attorney is looking into new contracts regarding the radio tower in Fairview Park.  Committee members brought up concerns for what the tower will mean for a future dog park.  Town Manger Brian Welch explained the town had access to the area under the tower, excluding the fenced-in area.

“We had to work out the issue of whether or not we could be under the tower, per se; now that we know we can it’s just a matter of waiting to see is there going to be a tower to be under,” said Welch.

The budget does not have funds specified for a dog park, though there may be extra money available depending on the cost of construction and what other needs come up in the town.

Welch also announced that Dwayne Dorton, Director of Public Works, will be retiring this year.  His last day will be August 31.

“Dwayne was good for this town, not just for just keeping the park squared away, but obviously we have the best streets in Mecklenburg County,” said Welch.

The committee will not meet in July.

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Design inches forward on new town hall

Progress was made last night on the new town hall. Board members met with architects for more than an hour discussing the project’s design. The board chamber will be open to the second story, but nobody can view a meeting from upstairs for security reasons.

The exterior features a four-column portico on both sides of the building with large arched windows on each side of the portico. Town Manager Brian Welch claimed one of those corner offices immediately, but Commissioner Lloyd Austin jokingly suggested suspending the town manager’s office above the board chamber.

There is no date set for the next design workshop.

More on the new town hall in Thursday’s Mint Hill Times.

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What will Mint Hill’s new town hall look like?

A design for Mint Hill’s new town hall could be approved by the Board of Commissioners tonight. The new town hall is a two-story structure made of brick—something more traditional than the current structure—but there are no specific design details yet.

The board discusses the project at 6:30 pm in town hall with architect David Creech and his team. The public can attend, but it cannot comment during the meeting.

Find out how the project progresses July 31 in The Mint Hill Times.

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