With permission, The Beacon is archiving past issues of Matthews News and Record (more recently named The Matthews Record) articles online. Throwback Thursday articles will include relevant content still facing Matthews today. This article was originally published June 16, 2005.
More than 300 Matthews citizens flocked to city hall last week to express their personal visions for the future of their town. Neighborhoods and housing, cultural arts and historical preservation, schools, parks and recreation, town services, air and water quality - all of these aspects of the quality of life and character of the community were explored during this lively town meeting.
Glenn Harbeck of Harbeck and Associates, commissioned by the town to help create a "vision" to direct future development, facilitated the session, traveling among the table groupings to discern what were residents' favorite streets, where they liked to walk, and what single issue was of most concern.
At Commissioner James Taylor's table, residents expressed concerns about keeping Matthews a "quaint" town, controlling traffic, offering diverse retail and entertainment options, finishing connector streets, and saving trees. In another group, citizens were heard questioning downtown vacancies, overcrowded housing developments, traffic congestion, remaining part of the county school system, and the loss of ties to the area farming community.
At the end of the evening, Harbeck observed that it didn't matter at what table he sat - the concerns expressed were universal. He noted that every citizen's sentiments will be entered into a database, sorted by category, and posted to the town's website. The information will be analyzed and vision statement drafted to reflection desires and concerns. Later this summer, he said, a proposed vision will be presented to residents.