Monday, May 24, 2010

Beatties Ford Business District Streetscape Project: Our Future Is Happening NOW

Today was a good day. I met many disappointed people in NC Senate District 38. Disappointed in even the idea of taking educational opportunities from our communities. "We must support our children and their future" was the summary of my community conversations today and prior. It's as if no one is considering the effects on neighborhoods when schools, libraries and recreation centers begin to close. Many of our youth will turn to the "streets" for support since public servants seem not to care. What an empty message of hope for our children!

How about the $3.7 million median project on Beatties Ford Road starting at LaSalle stopping at I-85, intended to improve the streetscape of our business district? Sounds like a waste of money when the you take into account the continuation of the CATS Streetcar Project also slated for this corridor through the west end. I argue that is unless there is a concerted effort to make this particular project a coordination with the CATS Streetcar Project, it seems to not make sense to spend this exorbitant amount of money when our community is clearly in need of much more than just these ‘surface level’ improvements. (and possibly be torn up to put in the streetcar in the coming years…)

Although I do believe this would be a wonderful aesthetic improvement to our struggling business district I argue that to stamp new concrete sidewalks to look like brick and adding a median to give our citizens an area of refuge as they cross the busy street may have value but is it worth the millions that will be spent while we are losing our libraries (particularly the one in the business district which is under construction now??!!??---but scheduled to close??) and several of our local schools that have been identified as at risk to be closed due to budget cuts because they are “underfilled.” (***according to the Charlotte Observer, May 16, 2010 in article “Which CMS Schools will Close” out of the 16 schools they listed as ‘Underfilled’ 11 of those schools are in District 38, including Lincoln Heights, 1/4 mile from the Beatties Ford Business District).

And if this is an argument about improving the business district to increase economic stability and development it seems like a band-aid for a larger problem of identifying and resolving the issues facing our actual business owners that provide us good and services. I am excited about seeing the Streetcar Project come down this corridor. I believe it will do the most to stabilize our community and empower our residents, but we must be cautious and informed so we can retain the ‘flavor’ of our community and not fall prey to gentrification and sterilization….

My biggest beef with this project is that I feel like it might be happening in a bubble, unconscious of its relationship to the economic issues our immediate community faces, and more so unconscious of the relationship to the CATS Streetcar Project. I challenge anyone to send me the phasing schedule for the Streetcar project (because I could not find it anywhere on online) and if this Median/Streetscape Project is an initial phase of the Streetcar project then maybe it just has unfortunate timing in this stressed economic time but does have some validity for the future of this community.

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My Story

Scott is a life-long North Carolina resident, born and raised in Concord; he graduated from college with a Bachelor’s in Political Science in 1999 from Mars Hill College, although his zeal for public service did not begin there. “I learned at a young age that leadership and service would always be one of those things I couldn’t say no to,” remarks Scott as he reminisces about his early years in high school as Student Body President, and a leader on the football field. He mimicked these roles as he moved to college, taking seriously his place in student government, his place on the football field, and his place in the classroom. After college Scott remained in Asheville for nearly three years gaining valuable experience as a public servant.

Since 2002 when Scott returned to Charlotte, this candidacy will be his first attempt at building his identity in public service within his community. “I am proud of my community; these are good, hard-working people who--for too long--have been denied their voice; this is their right and--above all else--this will be my job,” says Scott on his hopeful election to NC State Senate for District 38.

About Me

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Charlotte, Piedmont/North Carolina
Cedric Scott plans to represent Mecklenburg County in the NC State Senate District 38 in the November 2, 2010 election. He seeks to represent citizens who are currently disenfranchised and in need of the basic necessities for survival, from careers to healthcare. Scott’s background includes economic development and leadership experience from his work as Assistant Treasurer of Advantage West-North Carolina. He also assisted NC Supreme Court Justice Henry Frye and NC State Auditor Ralph Campbell in the 2000 Election with community outreach and campaign events in Western North Carolina. More recently, Scott’s experience in the mortgage finance industry has given him a unique perspective into the crisis that’s facing many of the citizens of Mecklenburg County. He notes, “My familiarity with mortgages and this housing crisis is just one aspect of who I am---it is just a single part of what I have to offer my community.” Scott is a life-long North Carolina resident, born and raised in Concord; he graduated from college with a Bachelor’s in Political Science in 1999 from Mars Hill College.