By Josh Whitener
Mint Hill residents can expect to see the construction of new sidewalks in the downtown area within the next two to three weeks.
All bids for construction of the project were due by Friday, June 28, and Senior Planner Dana Clukey said the town expects to finalize agreements this week with low bidder Creative NatureScapes. The Mint Hill-based company bid $204,814, she said.
Mint Hill adopted a pedestrian plan several years ago to examine areas in and around downtown where sidewalks were most needed, Hoard said. The Mint Hill Board of Commissioners approved spending $590,000 on sidewalk projects last fiscal year. Town Manager Brian Welch said the town is budgeting $300,000 for this first phase of sidewalk construction.
Welch said there are no definite plans as to which areas will get sidewalks first, but the town will work in conjunction with the chosen construction company to identify the areas where sidewalks are most needed and prioritize that list.
Senior Planner John Hoard said areas that could see construction include “missing links” in the downtown area, such as gaps along Matthews-Mint Hill Road between Wendy’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, near Hawthorne’s Pizza and the town hall and in front of the Mint Hill Historical Society.
“When all is said and done, there should be sidewalks all the way down (Highway) 51 on this side,” he said.
Areas along Lawyers Road where sidewalks are planned include places near intersections with Wilson Grove and Matthews-Mint Hill roads and near the Brighton Park subdivision, Hoard said.
The arrival of more sidewalks is exciting to Mint Hill residents like Ty Cain, who recently started a movement called “Walk, Bike, Run Mint Hill” with a Facebook page. Cain believes sidewalks are a necessity if Mint Hill wants to retain its “small town charm.”
“The point that I’m trying to make (through Walk, Bike, Run Mint Hill) is … Mint Hill is surrounded by many nice neighborhoods,” Cain said. “There are lots of families in those neighborhoods, and there’s this under-connected feeling these neighborhoods have with the town.”
Cain said he’s happy the town will be building more sidewalks downtown, but added he thinks the project could go even further. He’d like to see sidewalks along N.C. Highway 218 near the Olde Sycamore, Plantation Falls and Ashe Plantation subdivisions, because sidewalks here would give residents easier access to Mint Hill’s Park on Fairview.
“When you think about it, that’s 850 to 900 homes. That equates to about 2,000 to 2,500 people,” he said. “They’re just a mile, or less than a mile, away from the park, and there’s no tie in.”
Caid said he’s pleased with the work commissioners and town staff are doing moving forward with sidewalk projects, and he’d like to see more residents jump on board with his push for even more pedestrian-friendly paths.
“Hopefully, (Walk, Bike, Run Mint Hill) will be able to … make people aware that this is on the town’s radar,” he said. “It’s time to take this off the back burner and put it on the front burner.”
For more information on Walk, Bike, Run Mint Hill, go to www.facebook.com and search for “WBR Mint Hill.”