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Spirit Square Task Force Update
In the spring of 2007, the Spirit Square Community Task Force was created at the request of the Board following some objections to the County’s plan to sell Spirit Square. The Task Force comprises representatives of Spirit Square’s founders and private sector funders, Mecklenburg residents, and staff of the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, CMS and the Public Library.
The Task Force’s charge is to assess current arts and cultural activities and functionalities housed at Spirit Square and recommend to the County those elements that should be preserved in a redevelopment scenario. Final recommendations will be incorporated into the County’s Request for Proposal (RFP) process for the sale of Spirit Square.
In assessing Spirit Square’s current arts and cultural activities and functionalities, the Task Force identified several key functional priorities to incorporate in the redevelopment of Spirit Square. These priorities include preserving the McGlohon and Duke Power Theatres, spaces to showcase creative work and attract visitors into the facility, providing for amenities and spaces for people to gather and mingle, and providing space to house a radio or television studio. In addition, the Task Force is ascertaining the availability of the Spirit Square facility to current tenants through fiscal year 2009. The Task Force also is studying possible redevelopment scenarios using a feasibility study being conducted by a third-party consultant to the Task Force.
The Task Force plans to provide a final report on its progress and recommendations at a future Board meeting next spring. For more information, please contact General Manager Bobbie Shields at (704) 336-2606 or

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Sponsorship
At its October strategic planning conference, the Board received a briefing on public awareness goals, results and services provided by the Public Service & Information Department (PS&I), including resource development services. Earlier this week, the County’s Park and Recreation Department announced a major sponsorship by Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS).Under this sponsorship, BCBS will provide Mecklenburg County with $180,000 over three years to help support youth athletics. This is the largest single sponsorship generated to date.
The BCBS sponsorship is the direct result of PS&I’s agreement with Intemark, a national marketing firm that specializes in identifying corporate sponsorship and underwriting partnerships between public and private organizations.
In addition to the agreement with Intemark, PS&I also has a resource development coordinator on staff who develops sponsorship and underwriting partnerships at the local level. These sponsorships range from in-kind donations to financial underwriting that offsets existing costs and/or enables the provision of additional services. One of the more prominent examples of new services partially funded by underwriting includes various dog park special events, such as Bark in the Park.
Over the past four years, PS&I’s resource development coordinator has raised more than $400,000 in direct underwriting, and a similar amount of in-kind donations.
If you would like more information about the County’s resource development services in PS&I, please contact Danny Diehl at (704) 336-2084 or

Benefits Open Enrollment for 2008
As a reminder, open enrollment in the 2008 benefits plan will conclude on Tuesday, November 6.If you have not yet made your benefit selections, please do so as soon as possible. To enroll, please contact Jane Thomas in County Human Resources at (704) 336-3114 or

            --Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager



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