The Centralina Council of Governments hosted an Open House yesterday at the Senior Center at the Lincoln Campus of Gaston College for the “Connect Our Future” project.
Sushil Nepal, project manager, told us the open house is one of many being held from last October until February this year to gather input from communities in the region. Nepal said the project grew out of another project conducted by the COG in 2008.
“What we hope to accomplish,” he said, “is better regional planning.”
Open house events had already been held in Monroe, Wadesboro, Salisbury, Waxhaw, Albermarle, Kannapolis, Locust, Mooresville, Kings Mountain, Shelby, Lawndale and Rock Hill and Chester in South Carolina.
After a Tuesday (Jan. 30) open house in Statesville, others will be at Gastonia (Wednesday Jan. 31), Clover & Lancaster, Belmont (Tuesday Feb. 5), Fort Mill, Huntersville (Thursday Feb. 7), Richburg, Indian Land, Matthews, Mt. Holly (Tuesday Feb. 19), York and Union, S.C.
The project is a joint effort of the Centralina COG in North Carolina and the Catawba COG in South Carolina. It doesn't come cheap: the project is being supported by a $4.9 million HUD Sustainable Communities Grant and $3 million in local in-kind public and private matching resources.
You can read more about it at the Connect Our Future website connectourfuture.org. Following looking at posters and asking questions, visitors to the open house were asked to fill out questionnaires that Nepal says will be used to formulate planning.
Not everyone is a fan. At a meeting earlier this month (Jan. 2013) Jane Tanner, president of Indian Land Voice in Indian Land, S.C, said she's not convinced the program will ever live up to its intent. She referred to a South Carolina study of US 521 and SC 9 that cost $300,000 but which was never followed. “I'm just very discouraged with some of these projects we do,” she said, “I don't know if anything ever comes of them. It's just a job for those involved.”
Nepal said the COG is willing to do programs about the Connect Our Future project for almost any group. “If someone would like us to attend their church or club meeting to discuss it, they can call us at (704) 372-2416.” He noted that Connect Our Future is also on Facebook and Twitter.