Changes coming to Crestdale

Organization meeting March 31

by Kara Lopp

Earlier this year, residents of Matthews’ historic Crestdale community learned the results of a planning study that could bring new signs, community gardens and a walking trail to the area. And the legwork to make that happen will begin at noon Saturday, March 31 with a meeting of the Crestdale Community Organization at Mount Moriah Baptist Church, 381 Crestdale Road in Matthews.

Residents who live in the Rainbow Ridge, Fullwood Trace, Crestdale Crossing or Sunrise Crossing neighborhoods are invited to attend. The meeting will focus on discussing the future of the Crestdale community, revisions to the community organization’s by-laws and nominations for officers of the organization.

The move comes about three months after residents learned of the study results, conducted by experts from the American Planning Association. Thanks to a grant, planning experts visited the town last summer to engage residents and help establish a new vision for the historic neighborhood.

Crestdale, as the visiting planners put it, “is a community in transition.” Local history suggests the neighborhood dates to the 1870s as a settlement for freed slaves and their families. Since the 1980s, Crestdale has become home to Habitat for Humanity of Matthews, which has drawn families with various cultural backgrounds including those from the Congo and the Phillipines.

Defining the community through a series of signs is one suggestion planners had for Crestdale. They also suggested community gardens and constructing a “heritage trail” from various points in the community to connect to downtown Matthews, the planned sportsplex and the Wingate University campus. The trail also would include signs and information noting Crestdale’s history. Planners also suggested residents form a neighborhood association to better define what is important to them and how they want their community to grow – a suggestion that prompted the March 31 meeting.

Other major recommendations of the plan include:
• Creating a neighborhood identity, both for residents within the geographical boundaries of the community and for those outside to become aware of Crestdale.
• Residents/stakeholders need to build their own internal neighborhood communication then start outreach to tell their story and educate people about their community.

For more information or to volunteer, call Harvey Boyd at 704-847-4983 or e-mail harvey.boyd@earthlink.net.

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