I’m voting yes to for the public facility and parks and recreations bonds for Mint Hill because I want to keep the small-town feel.
That may seem like a bit of a contradiction, but hear me out.
Charlotte is much bigger in size and population than Baltimore, where I was born, but you probably wouldn’t realize that from visiting both cities.
Baltimore is actually smaller in almost every way compared to Charlotte now, and yet feels far more urban, crowded and developed.
Small-town feel is something that is said a lot when describing Mint Hill and for good reason, the town has certainly held onto it fiercely, even as it’s more than greatly increased in population the past several years.
How is it then that a growing town could keep the small-town feel, or how can Charlotte feel smaller and more personal than Baltimore while being bigger?
I think the answer is complex, but boils down to a sense of community. How does a town or city create a sense of community? Through shared experiences.
A shared experience is how we begin to form the ties that bond us together. That’s why we feel so connected to our schoolmates and coworkers and why military members are so deeply connected to their fellow servicemen and women. When you have shared an experience, you can relate to one another.
Sports create so many opportunities for shared experiences. From practices, coaching and games, to the parents who watch and support their players together, and cheer from the stands together.
The athletic fields slated to go in on Brief Rd. with the parks and recreation bond will make it possible for Mint Hill local sports programs to expand to have more kids participating. There is an amazing amount of evidence out there about that positive effect sports can have on kids and the community.
The stadium, which is also part of the parks and recreation bond, will bring a home baseball team to Mint Hill. For 26 nights every summer, our citizens will be able to go out and cheer for our town’s team. Not only will the stadium create those shared experiences, but town events like concerts and festivals will be able to take place there as well. That’s where community happens.
The public facility bond will restore a piece of Mint Hill’s history, Bain Academy–where many shared experiences have helped create a sense of community, and it will be repurposed as a civic and cultural arts center. Mint Hill desperately needs a place for those types of activities. Being able to experience art and live performances and have a place to gather together will greatly enhance our sense of community by creating more opportunities to be together.
We simply don’t have enough “together” happening offline these days and that disconnect is creating division across our country. I can’t change that everywhere, but I can vote yes and contribute to trying to change it here in Mint Hill.