County’s capital projects include local options

The county is considering a number of capital improvement projects for the 2015-17 timeframe, including a handful of south Charlotte developments.

County staff has developed a list of 88 projects, at more than $886 million, that could be considered for a bond package on this year’s elections ballot. The top half of the list, which is more likely to get funded in the next few years, is loaded with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Central Piedmont Community College projects. The CMS projects include some south Charlotte school improvements (see page 1).

The bottom half of the list is dominated by county building and department improvements and park and recreation projects.

The Charlotte library system is asking for improvements at four campuses, including Morrison and South County. The Morrison project is ranked 43rd by the county and the South County project is ranked 46th.

The system says the Morrison library needs renovations to more than 24,000 square feet of space and a 4,000-square-foot addition. Library officials want to add children’s programing space, a family restroom, teen area, conference rooms, group study spaces and more. The library hasn’t had “substantial renovations” since it was built in 1991. The project would cost $8 million.

South County also needs a 4,000-square-foot addition and renovations to 33,500 square feet of space. The extra space would be used for much of the same needs as Morrison. The project would cost $11 million.

The county is considering a new community park in Pineville, ranked 51st at $3.6 million, and a handful of greenway trail projects.

Commissioners Bill James, of south Mecklenburg’s District 6, and Karen Bentley, of north Mecklenburg’s District 1, expressed concern about a lack of projects in their districts. County staff say they have tried to balance ranking projects by need while still ensuring all districts get a piece of the capital funds.

“Public support from the suburbs is extremely important in getting these bond packages passed,” Bentley said. “There is a dearth of projects in (Districts 1 and 6). I think we need to look very closely at the geographic dispersion.”

None of these projects will be included in the bond package if the county caps the bond at $300 million, as expected.

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