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Cornelius News

Delay installing Nantz traffic light costs county taxpayers $40,000  

Dec. 20. By Dave Vieser. Mecklenburg County taxpayers paid nearly $40,000 this past year for police to direct traffic at Nantz Road and West Catawba Avenue because a promised new traffic signal was never installed during Ramsey Creek Park’s first beach season. And last night, town and county officials indicated the problematic intersection won’t have a traffic light until February at the earliest.

Meanwhile, to alleviate the massive, traffic-stopping crowds last Memorial Day, the beach will open a week earlier next year.

“I can’t believe it’s taken this long to get a traffic light up,” said Mayor Chuck Travis. The AT&T lines have finally been moved, but now Epcon, which is building the adjacent active adult community, and is responsible for doing the road paving, is expressing concern over doing such work in the middle of winter.

“I told them to be optimistic and to hope for a mild winter,” said Planning Director Wayne Herron. Even so, officials do not anticipate completion before February. Under an agreement with the county, the Cornelius Police Department provided an officer for traffic coverage at the intersection as long as the light is not installed and working. The cost is covered by the county.

Mecklenburg County Parks Director Jim Garges and park employees shared a wide range of additional information about the beach’s first season of operation:

  • Total beach attendance was 71,000, with approximately 75 percent comprised of county residents. The beach operation cost the county $258,000 while bringing in some $117,000 in revenue.
  • Police calls for service rose from 32 in 2015 to 50 in 2016.
  • There were three closures during the summer for excess capacity; 28 for thunderstorms and one for water quality.

Looking ahead, Garges said there will be more concessions next year. He also plans a closed circuit TV security coverage in conjunction with the Cornelius Police.

In response to an inquiry from Commissioner Dave Gilroy, Garges said he would take another look at eliminating the weekend fee at Jetton Park.

Garges also said that there is no other site on the Mecklenburg side of the lake that could be permitted by Duke Energy for a public beach.

Prior to the report, one resident, Donna Connell, who lives on Yachtman Drive off of Nantz Road, complained about the beach’s impact on their quality of life. “Enough is enough. You need to start thinking about the rights of the residents who live nearby,” she told the commissioners.

Residents of Nantz Road have not been able to get to their own houses because of traffic lined up to enter thepark.

Also at the Dec. 19 meeting, the commissioners appointed Dr. Scott Higgins as Chairman of the town Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC).  Dr. Higgins has served as a member of the PARC Commission since April, 2015.