you're reading...

Cornelius News

Will new beach kick sand in the face of neighbors?

May 24. Town and chamber officials will be at the dedication of the new beach at Ramsey Creek Park at 11 am today, but not everyone is thrilled with the logistics around the first public swimming area in 40 years.



“I wouldn’t have much nice to say,” says Dr. Michael Miltich, a member of the Cornelius Town Board. “I have multiple deep concerns about the implementation.” He and his family live on Nantz Road, where turning left onto West Catawba Avenue hasn’t been a walk in the park for years.

A promised traffic light at the intersection has not happened, but Mecklenburg County will pay off-duty Cornelius police to direct traffic when the beach opens at 10:30 am Saturday.

Interviews with public officials over when the light will go up drew a variety of responses, from “soon, but don’t print that,” to “I don’t know.” While public swimming in a lake town is a good thing, how it’s happening apparently took the keepers of local infrastructure by surprise.

Miltich, the town commissioner and neighbor said, “I have not heard any time table, especially now that the state has given the County a ‘bye.’ I know that the land has to be acquired where the poles are to be placed. Last I heard the owners were cooperating and may be donating the rights of way.”

What happened is that the town stipulated that a light be installed along with the development of a new active adult community on the northeastern corner of West Catawba and Nantz. The new light appears to be caught in the amber zone where government meets government and no one comes out happy.

“I have not heard ANY comments about when the intersection is going to be T’d up as required by their conditional zoning—it just has to be done before the first occupant moves in—and the County has no leverage over them. Obviously the County doesn’t care about the impact the swim beach will have on the neighbors—they have something new to show off. The neighbors got lucky when NCDOT decided (on their own) that there needed to be a light which caught the County off guard. The Town is stuck without many options—a County Park on State roads,” Miltich said.

Garges could not be reached for comment regarding the exact timetable for a traffic light. He said last night the new beach will be the first time in 40 years that residents can swim from a public park in Mecklenburg County.

The intersection is already problematic, with residents who want to travel east on West Catawba, turning right, or west, and heading to the Westmoreland neighborhood where they turn around, retrace their steps and head east again.

Miltich said the county has agreed to pay for traffic control officers on weekends and holidays when the beach is open. “I find this interesting in that at a beach meeting held at Town Hall a couple of months ago, the County told neighbors not only would there be a light (unless they could change NCDOT’s mind—and now we know they did), but Cornelius Police would do bike patrols to be sure visitors weren’t parking on the roads/yards and walking into the park. I haven’t heard anything more about policing the neighborhood except at the light,” the town commissioner said.

Miltich said neighbors were also told there would be a sign at Catawba and Nantz to let visitors know when the beach is full so they wouldn’t drive down Nantz Road only to find out there was no room to park.

“Incredulously, it is to be a manual sign—meaning some employee will have to go to the sign—drive, foot, bike?—to change it every time the park fills, and then when someone leaves,” Miltich said.