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Cornelius News

Town Board will take up Alexander Farm—and the tenant house—one more time

Sharecropper/tenant house / Photo by Jason Benavides

May 16. By Dave Yochum. Preserve Mecklenburg and the developer of Alexander Farms will go before the Cornelius Town Board tonight seeking approval for a preservation plan for the J. Wilson Alexander Farm Tenant House.

The developer, Win Development, is also asking to increase the number of independent senior living units that will be built in the 55-acre mixed-use development from 130 to 143.

The tenant house would sit amidst trees at Westmoreland and W. Catawba (bottom left)

More prominence for tenant house

The 110-year-old tenant house would be moved to a grove of trees at the intersection of West Catawba and Westmoreland where it will restored and readied for display between a 29,000 square foot Lidl grocery store and commercial space.

The overall project includes retail near West Catawba Avenue, active adult north of retail, and private homes in the rear (northern) segment.

The retail elements will be toward the beginning of the project timeline, while the active adult construction will likely start shortly after the retail aspects commence. The residential homes in the rear will come later as permits cannot be pulled for those units until the infrastructure—roads, utilities, etc.—is in place.

Opening day

Stores could open in 2023, according to Win Development principal Jesse McInerney.

There will be a public hearing at tonight’s meeting; Town Manager Andrew Grant said the plan is “consistent with the Town’s Land Use Plan and reasonable in the public’s interest.”

Eligible for National Register

The Alexander Farm Tenant House has been declared eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, according to historian Jim Morrill who works for Preserve Mecklenburg.

Dan Morrill / Photo by Jason Benavides

Preserve Mecklenburg will hold an easement on the structure so that it will be maintained and preserved in perpetuity.

“It is a rare survivor of the cotton economy that was predominant in Mecklenburg County until the mid-twentieth century. Preserving the tenant house will enable future generations to understand a way of life that was once widespread but has now virtually vanished. Planting and harvesting cotton was labor intensive. The tenant farmers who labored in the fields were essential to a cotton farmer’s success. They lived in houses like the Alexander Farm Tenant House. Their lives need to be remembered,” Morrill said.

Tonight’s agenda

Also on the agenda is a public hearing on the town manager’s proposed general fund budget totals $28,369,890 (net of reconciling items, such as debt to be issued), which represents an increase of $2,378,678 (or 9%) from FY 2022 which ends June 30.

Town Manager Grant

The FY 23 budget also includes utilizing funds received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act from the federal government in the amount of $4,821,414.

To review the proposed budget, click here.

The manager’s budget calls for a one-cent increase in the property tax rate. A home valued at $450,000 would be taxed an additional $45 a year.