MINT HILL – Around 75 residents filled Mint Hill Town Hall on Oct. 3 to hear about two bond proposals that are on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
Town Manager Brian Welch gave a brief presentation on the two proposals before taking questions for 45 minutes.
The first proposal is a $3 million public facility bond that would be used for a Cultural Arts Center at Historic Bain Academy. If passed, the building and its auditorium would be renovated, and it would be used for theater productions, art gallery events, fashion shows, craft shows, family events, seminars, weddings and reunions.
The second proposal is a $15 million parks and recreation bond that if passed would build an athletic park on Brief Road and a baseball stadium at Veterans Park.
The park on Brief Road would have at least four multi-use athletic fields, including one synthetic turf lighted field. A fifth field would be possible when sewer becomes available to the park. The park would also feature a paved trail, playground, picnic shelters and restrooms. The Brief Road park is expected to cost around $6 million, and it sits across the street the Mint Hill Athletic Association fields.
The proposed baseball stadium will seat 2,500 fans with standing room available for 500 more fans. The town already has a tentative lease agreement with a local businessman to bring a summer collegiate baseball team to Mint Hill. The team would play 26 games at the stadium each summer.
Independence and Queens Grant high schools would also call the proposed stadium home, as well as the local American Legion Baseball team. The stadium will also be used for non-baseball events, such as concerts, movies, food and beverage events, ceremonies and civic events. The cost of building the stadium is estimated at $9 million.
Many of the questions Welch fielded dealt with the parks and recreation bond, specifically the proposed stadium at Veterans Park.
Welch emphasized several times that Mint Hill athletic teams will never be charged for use of any of the proposed park and recreational facilities since residents are taxpayers. He also stressed that parking at the proposed stadium at Veterans Park, regardless of the event, will always be free.
“It’s going to be our kids out there, and they won’t pay,” Welch said. “We will never charge for parking.”
One resident asked what would be the benefit of building a baseball stadium for citizens who are not baseball fans.
“Not all community members are invested into baseball and what does this venue bring to all of us in Mint Hill?” the resident asked.
Welch cited a host of other uses for the stadium. Welch said he expects many of the activities currently held downtown will shift to the new stadium because of its ample parking.
“I can see more concerts and more movies,” Welch said. “In the winter time for a couple of weeks, an ice rink out there (would be a possibility). Food truck rallies. It’s just not a stadium. We have 400-plus paved parking spots.”
Welch said a stadium at Veterans Park will most likely spur economic development and help downtown businesses.
“I would not be surprised to see some serious upticks and a hotel locating nearby,” Welch said.
If both bonds pass, a homeowner with a home valued at $400,000 would see a tax increase of about $200 a year. A home valued at $200,000 would see an increase of approximately $100 a year.
The board of commissioners could have just voted to borrow the money or use existing monies to build all the proposed projects on its own but instead decided to let the town’s residents decide the issue.
“This will impact your taxes,” Welch said. “Your taxes will go up. They (board) want Mint Hill residents to say that we don’t mind you raising our taxes if we build these facilities.”
Welch emphasized that voters can vote for both projects, reject both projects or vote yes on one and no on the other.
Another public information session will be held Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at town hall. Go to www.minthill.com for more information on the bond proposals.