you're reading...

Cornelius News

Smithville discussion airs 9 am Monday on WFAE

The Smithville Community Choir kicks off the inaugural Old Town Cornelius Jazz Festival held at Smithville Park

Feb. 24. The Smithville neighborhood just east of I-77 is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in Mecklenburg County will be the subject of a live radio discussion Monday at 9 am.

Guests of the popular “Charlotte Talks” host Mike Collins are Mayor Woody Washam, Cornelius resident Willie Jones, Smithville Community Coalition co-founder Lisa Mayhew-Jones and journalist Pam Kelley, formerly with the Charlotte Observer. 


Smithville, settled by descendants of slaves, is dealing with gentrification—redevelopment spurred by dramatic increases in land values. There is a mix of well-kept homes, substandard dwellings and a handful of new homes. The neighborhood park is also the home of the Old Town Cornelius Jazz Festival.

How to manage growth and changing demographics is the topic of ongoing discussions in Smithville and Town Hall.

Because of rapid increases in the land under aging houses, gentrification can wipe out a community in a matter of a a couple of years.

The population in Smithville is declining, and revitalization attempts have been slow.


Charlotte Talks is a 20-year on-air forum for the discussion of politics, growth, the arts, culture and literature on WFAE.

The show is hosted by veteran Charlotte broadcaster Mike Collins, who has been a fixture in local radio and television since 1985.

Tune in at 90.7 on the FM dial.