MINT HILL – It’s back to the drawing board for supporters of Bain Academy.
Voters in Mint Hill rejected a $3 million public facility bond on Nov. 6 that would have renovated Bain Academy into a cultural center with an auditorium for theater productions, art, fashion and craft shows, seminars and other events. The proposal went down to defeat 5,634-5,093.
Bain Academy was founded in 1889 and the group Save Bain had been trying to raise funds to save the historic building for several years. The bond was the group’s best chance to achieve that goal.
But Carol Timblin with Save Bain said the group is not giving up and is exploring several options, including possibly putting the issue before voters again in the future.
“A lot of people on the committee want to keep going,” Timblin said. “We are going to explore some other options. We are going to start doing that after Thanksgiving. I do not know if the town is going to choose to do anything or not. I’m sure that would be a big discussion and I don’t think we can count on that. But if they decided to do that, that would be wonderful.”
The group can gather signatures from Mint Hill voters to again put the issue on the ballot, either in a special election or in the next general election and that is something the group may explore.
“When you look at the votes, it was really pretty close,” Timblin said. “Five hundred votes is really close. The only other thing that has been suggested is a petition and I haven’t investigated on how that is done and how many signatures you would have to have. Of course, that would take time.”
Another option is getting help from outside groups such as Preservation North Carolina. Founded in 1939, Preservation North Carolina is the state’s only private nonprofit historic preservation organization and they have saved around 800 historical properties across North Carolina.
“They take old buildings and renovate and repurpose the building,” Timblin said. “I’m OK with that as long as they save it.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools currently owns Bain Academy, which also once served as an elementary school in town, and the property has been condemned.
“We appreciate Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools holding the building until we can get some sort of resolution,” Timblin said. “We are really disappointed, we thought we were going to win the bond.”
Voters also rejected a $15 million Parks and Recreation Bond 5,743 to 5,089. That bond would have funded the construction of a 2,500-seat baseball stadium at Veteran’s Memorial Park and multi-use athletic fields, a playground and a walking trail for an Athletic Park on Brief Road.
Despite an aggressive campaign in support of the Bain Academy bond and two information sessions sponsored by the town, Timblin said she thought some voters were not properly informed on the two proposals.
“I think in some people’s minds, I think they thought they were tied together,” Timblin said. “I know people I talked to going into the polls, some of them did not know about the bond, they didn’t understand the bonds. But that is something you fight against every election. We appreciate every vote that we got.”