#FiveForFriday: A Morning Minute News Round Up

This #FiveForFriday Morning Minute News Round Up is for the week of March 11 through March 15, 2019.

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News About Town {updated}: Matthews police have identified the body found on East John St. as Mr. Shawn Antonio Horton (DOB – 07/14/1972) of Charlotte, NC. His body was found in a ditch on the 1800 block of E. John Street (the outer side of John St. past I-485). A damaged silver and purple Huffy bicycle was found nearby. The victim seems to have died several weeks ago. As police piece together Mr. Horton’s last few days, they’re asking for tips and leads. If you have any, call Matthews Police Department at 704-847-5555.

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News About Town: Last night’s council meeting, in the absence of Mayor Paul Bailey, was led by Mayor Pro Tem John Higdon. It was a rapidly moving meeting with lots of Town business covered, though perhaps most surprising was regarding the recent land-clearing on Monroe Road for Residences Galleria, a 250-unit apartment complex to be built across from Family Dollar. During the rezoning process, the developer and nearby residents agreed upon specific areas for tree save. This week as land clearing began, approximately 200 trees marked to be saved were cut down. Taft Development Group is facing a $50,000 zoning violation fine from the Town and will pay a self-imposed fine of $100,000 in addition. Taft will also plant trees approximately 6-inches in diameter when construction is complete to repopulate the tree save area.

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News About Town: According to the Town website, the Trade Street widening at the culvert (where Trade forks off to Weddington and Pleasant Plains) is supposed to be complete this spring. At Monday night’s Council meeting, NCDOT representative Stuart Basham provided updates and a revised completion date. Currently, the contractor, Blythe Construction, has increased the size of the crew but is incurring liquidated damages of $1,000 per day. According to Stuart, the project is expected to be completed by Labor Day.

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News About Town: During the NCDOT updates at the Monday Council meeting, some conversation centered on the John St. Widening. Even the Town has been formulating their own approach, NCDOT has continued moving forward with design from Matthews to Monroe. According to Mayor Bailey, NCDOT and the Town are on the same page to delay construction on the portion from I-485 to Trade. The part of John St from I-485 eastward will continue with design and ROW acquisition. Now the Town must present this preference to the CRTPO (the municipal governing body for Charlotte area transportation) to amend the official STIP (a scheduled list of funded transportation projects). It’s a bureaucratic process to change the NCDOT budget in order to delay the downtown Matthews section.

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News About Town: Matthews residents have a new park option. The playground equipment at Rice Road Park, a 9.5 acre parcel at 2530 Rice Road, has been installed and is ready for play! The work recently finished, Phase I, included driveway access into the park, an on-site walking trail, one sidewalk connection from Rice Road into the park, playground facilities, parking lot, lighting, benches, and picnic tables, as well as landscaping. According to the Town’s Facebook page, Phase II of the park will include a picnic shelter, additional seating, and enhanced natural areas around the walking trail.