First Ward Park Agreement
The Board approved agreements that will result in a public-private development of 3.3 acres of new park space in Charlotte's First Ward. The new County property resulting from the agreements would be developed as an urban park situated between ImaginOn and the new UNC Charlotte building under construction at 9th and Brevard Streets.
The agreements call for the County to:
- Provide a tax increment grant to Levine Properties to facilitate constructing two parking decks
- Provide a tax increment grant to Levine to acquire and develop a park through a tax grant or other funding arrangements to be determined.
- Also as part of the agreements, Levine Properties will invest $700 million to develop office, retail, hotel and residential properties in First Ward.
The City of Charlotte and UNC-Charlotte also are participating in the economic development project. Ultimately, the combined investment by the City and County is estimated to be $49 million
County Facility Naming Policy
The Board discussed a policy that governs the naming of County facilities that is patterned after a naming policy already adopted by the Park and Recreation Department.
The Board was unable to settle on a proper length of between an official's last elected service and the time of a facility being named for him/her. The matter was send back to staff for further review and the Board will consider the matter again at its September 1 meeting.
Public Art Program
The Board approved the FY10 Public Art Work Plan submitted by the Arts and Science Council and instructed the County Manager to negotiate an agreement with the ASC to administer the plan. In 2002, the County Commission adopted an ordinance for a redefined Public Art Program to provide funding for the creation of artworks to be installed and displayed in County-owned buildings, parks, greenways, bikeways and public spaces.
The Council reports it has a little over $1.5M in projects currently underway and another $1M in upcoming projects that are on hold including art for the third phase of the Valarie Woodard Center and art for Second Ward Park.
NACo Achievement Awards
The Board recognized 12 County programs or services that were named recipients of 2009 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties.
This year, 12 County programs were singled out for exceptional results in service to the community. The Park and Recreation Department received seven of the awards for varied projects such as a bike trail for citizens with disabilities, teaching life skills to students k-6 who are visually impaired and a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College that resulted in the County receiving 900 hours of community service from CPCC students to help maintain the County's nature preserves. In addition to thePark and Recreation honors, NACo recognized our Veterans Services Office for a significant outreach program to vets that resulted in a 22% increase in the number of veterans who came to the office for assistance. The NACo Achievement Awards program has recognized hundred of counties for innovative programs since its inception in 1970.
The Board recognized the Department of Social Services for 90 years of service to the community. DSS was created by the Board of County Commissioners in 1919 and given a budget of 22-hundred dollars.
Its main function then was to protect children, enforcing child labor laws and the truancy ordinance. DSS has grown to be the largest County department with 1,200 employees and a budget of $176M, providing assistance to one in six residents of Mecklenburg County including Food and Nutrition Services, Medicaid, Youth and Family Services, Services for Seniors and Disabled Adults, and Community Resources, which provides outreach and community supportive services to those citizens not eligible for mandated federal programs.