Charlotte-area residents invited to chart the region’s future

Charlotte-area residents will have an additional opportunity to voice their opinion on the region’s growth. The Centralina Council of Governments added a fourth Mecklenburg County workshop, and a second location, to the “CONNECT Our Future” planning program at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Mahlon Adams Pavilion in Freedom Park.

The public workshop is one of 49 at 17 locations, being held as part of the CONNECT program, which is focusing on the 14-county Charlotte region’s economic, educational, environmental and transportation needs through 2050. At the workshops, attendees will work in groups to come up with growth scenarios for their counties.

Unlike the other 16 locations, which have with three sessions each, throughout the day – at 9-11 a.m., 1-3 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m. – the Freedom Park location has one session at 5:30 p.m.

Registration for all locations is available at the CONNECT Our Future website.

Overall, 79 people have registered for the Mecklenburg County workshops. CONNECT’s Stanly County workshop drew about 100 participants and the Iredell session more than 150.

Those earlier workshops revealed some consensus around key issues, said CONNECT Program Director Sushil Nepal. “We saw some general trends,” Nepal said. “Like, in Iredell, the northern part of the county needs to be preserved as farmland. In Stanly, there was a focus on growing within current jurisdictions.”

CONNECT asked some participants for their reactions to the workshop and made the videos available on the project’s website.

“I like the idea that citizens from all over the community can come together and express their views,” Stanly County Commissioner Lindsey Dunevant said of the sessions, “and one of the things that was great is that we had a lot of commonality about where we wanted to go, where we want to be and that kind of thing. So, I was really impressed by the fact that people were open and honest and talked about those things.”

Stanly County resident Martha Hughes was also pleased by her experience. “We all worked together to discuss where we want our county to go as a whole” she said, “and it was fascinating to see what everybody knew. Everybody knew different pieces, and when you put all of that knowledge together, it is very powerful.”

While positive about the workshop, another Stanly County resident, Joseph Burleson, expressed his desire for younger people to participate. “One thing that was a little bit concerning, the average age seemed to be in about the 50s,” Burleson said. “We need a lot more people around my age to participate in these events. After all, it is going to be our future and our kids’ future.”

CONNECT Our Future workshops registration information:




Number Registered

Sept. 16


First United Methodist Church, 190 E. Franklin Blvd.


Sept. 17


South Piedmont Community College, 514 Washington St.


Sept. 23


Lincoln County Senior Center, 514 S. Academy St.


Sept. 24


Concord First Assembly, 280 Concord Parkway, Suite 5


Sept. 25


East Stonewall AME Zion Church, 1729 Griers Grove Road


Oct. 1

Richburg, S.C.

Convention Center at the Gateway, 3202 Commerce Drive


Oct. 2


The Hut, 413 Johnston Drive


Oct. 3

Lancaster, S.C.

USC-Lancaster, 476 Hubbard Drive


Oct. 8

Union County, S.C.

Union County Advanced Technology Center, 1401 Furman Fendley Highway


Oct. 10

Rock Hill, S.C.

Manchester Meadows, 337 E. Mt. Gallant Road


Oct. 14


Davidson College Presbyterian Church–Congregation House, 218 Davidson-Concord Road


Oct. 15


Salisbury Civic Center, 315 S. ML King Jr. Ave.


Oct. 16


Don Gibson Theatre, 318 S. Washington St.


Oct. 17


First Baptist Church, 109 W. Morrow Ave.


Oct. 24 (5:30)


Mahlon Adams Pavilion – Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Ave.


Corey Conner wrote is article while interning at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in 2014 as a student at UNC Charlotte.

Corey Conner