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Cornelius News

Neighbors slammed, dunked by new beach; meeting Thursday

A day at the beach 11 am

June 6. By Dave Yochum. Residents of the Nantz Road neighborhood turned out for the Cornelius Town Board meeting where they praised Cornelius Police for traffic control, but criticized the overall planning around the new Ramsey Creek Park Beach.

Beach traffic has backed up along Nantz Road back toward West Catawba, preventing residents from getting to their homes.

The lack of infrastructure around the new beach “is a major problem and ought to be rethunk from soup to nuts,” said veteran Town Commissioner Dave Gilory. Police Chief Bence Hoyle said Nantz Road will never be the same, in light of the 12,000 cars that descended on the beach over Memorial Day weekend.

Resident Sarah Pulk pointed out that a sidewalk has been disturbed by construction of the Epcon active adult community, forcing beachgoers who have parked at commercial buildings to walk in Nantz Road.

Nantz Road resident Ann Miltich, whose husband is a town commissioner, asked for a more “thoughtful plan to help control the traffic.”

There is not a  “quick fix, we need thoughtful consideration and planning,” she said.

“Our job is to represent people who live in Cornelius. The impact here has been awful…there has to be major rethinking of this project.”

– Commissioner Dave Gilroy

Mecklenburg County will hold a community meeting at 6 pm Thursday in the Community Room at Town Hall to discuss the beach. Representatives from Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, the Town of Cornelius and the Cornelius Police Department will attend.

One of the big issues is the traffic signal promised for the intersection of Nantz Road and West Catawba. Town Manager Anthony Roberts said the new traffic light will not help

Mayor Chuck Travis said part of the issue is that Nantz is a state-controlled road, while the park is operated by the county government.

Commissioner Gilroy called the mayor’s comments “asinine.” Saying that a beach was theoretically a good thing, Gilroy nevertheless said “there wasn’t adequate consideration to what was going to happen on the ground.”

There is not a stacking lane for the increased volume of cars queuing up for the gate to the park where residents pay $3 to swim.

“The collateral damage is way out of control, way out of proportion to the residents of Cornelius,” Gilroy said. “Our job is to represent people who live in Cornelius. The impact here has been awful…there has to be major rethinking of this project.” Gilroy suggested changes in the pricing structure to reduce demand for the beach.

The county is paying Cornelius Police officers to staff the intersection at Catawba and on the road inside the park.

Police Chief Bence Hoyle said cars parking on both sides of the road is problematic. “We cant regulate people coming to the beach and parking. We have to let everyone park,” the chief said, explaining that “No Parking” signs would help control traffic.  We need some kind of structure, some kind of guidance out there.

Commissioner Jim Duke said the “law of unintended consequences” went into full effect when the beach opened. “This has to be rethought,” Duke stated.