Mayor Anthony Foxx will be in Ballantyne on Nov. 8, continuing a series of town hall meetings he’s had across the area in the wake of his and outgoing City Manager Curt Walton’s massive spending package getting shot down by Charlotte City Council.
Walton, with Foxx’s support, proposed the $926 million capital investment plan prior to last year’s city budget vote. The plan looks to invest heavily in areas around east, north and west Charlotte in hopes of revitalizing those spots and luring in businesses that will provide jobs and give a shot of tax revenue to those regions. The goal is for those areas to start carrying more of the city’s tax burden so the southern area – south of Uptown and mostly between Park and Providence roads – doesn’t have to carry the bulk of the city’s tax burden any longer.
The problem with the plan, as many in south Charlotte saw it, was that it spent very little in the south while asking taxpayers to foot the bill for nearly $1 billion in spending that included an extension to the controversial streetcar project. A new police division station in south Charlotte, along with an extension of Park South Drive and work on an area walking trail was the bulk of spending earmarked for south Charlotte in the plan.
Charlotte City Council voted this summer to suspend talk on the investment plan for the time being – led in part by Ballantyne-area representative Warren Cooksey – but with the possibility of taking the issue back up.
“Between the town hall meeting on the budget I held earlier this year and my weekly policy discussion, I’m the only elected official the people of District 7 have heard from regarding city issues,” Cooksey said on Tuesday, Oct. 30. “It will be good to hear another perspective.”
The Ballantyne Breakfast Club – a local advocacy group led by Ray Eschert – and Wil Brooks and the Ballantyne chapter of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce will host the meeting. The two groups hold a number of events throughout the year aimed at informing Ballantyne-area residents.
“We both agree that it is important for the community to be able to hear from Mayor Foxx on the issues our city is facing,” Eschert said of the first town hall meeting Foxx has had south of SouthPark since the budget vote. “We know there are several timely topics that need to be explored.”
Other issues Eschert expects to be brought up next Thursday are the process of replacing Walton, possible future upgrades to Bank of America Stadium, costs for the Blue Line light rail extension and the future of Eastland Mall.
The meeting is Nov. 8, a Thursday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ballantyne Hotel, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. There will be time for audience questions.