Firstly, thank you to those of you who took the time to advocate for greenways with us, either by speaking at the public hearing or sending your comments to commissioners. We appreciate your time, perspective, and dedication to greenways - we truly could not do it without you!
Budget Adoption Recap: Tuesday, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners approved the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget that will determine capital funding for county departments, including Park & Recreation, for the next 5 years. The vote passed 6 to 3, with Commissioners Elaine Powell, Laura Meier, and Susan Rodriguez-McDowell voting no. Similarly, the FY2024 annual budget passed 7 to 2 with Commissioners Elaine Powell and Pat Cotham voting no.
The approved Park & Recreation project list is the same as the list that County Manager Dena Diorio recommended on May 18. The only item that has changed is the allotted funding for land purchases, from $59M to $48M.
Thank you, Commissioners: We are thankful that county commissioners supported additional funding for land acquisition, keeping us on track with past budgets and ensuring that we have protected green space for parks and greenways as our county grows. We want to give a special shoutout to Commissioner Laura Meier for talking about the importance of greenways during her Commissioner Report.
West Boulevard Success: Another significant win was the $3M for the West Boulevard Food Co-op Capital campaign. This is a huge accomplishment for a community that is currently located in a food desert and a remarkable showing of determination from the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition. Congratulations!
Rolling CIP: We are also pleased that the CIP process is shifting to a rolling model, which means that each year we will have a chance to advocate for greenways for the next five years. While the approved CIP budget does not include funding for the 30 miles of greenways we've advocated for to keep pace with the need for at least 10 new miles of greenways each year to reach adopted County goals, we now have the opportunity to influence greenway funding every year.
Going forward, we will be focusing on those greenway segments that were high on Park & Recreation’s project priority list but did not make it into this year’s CIP. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that our greenway network connects and expands. Keep an eye out for more details and how you can get involved!
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