Saturday, April 25, 2009

Call for artists and dog lovers

The North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue group is seeking artists and craftspeople who want to sell their work at a family fun day on May 3 at The Palmer Building at 2601 E. Seventh St. near the Elizabeth neighborhood.

All proceeds from sales remain with the artist. All proceeds from space rental benefit animal rescue.

The event includes a petting zoo, adoptable puppies, a Guitar Hero competition and a dog agility demonstration. Plus Lexington barbecue.

Several neighborhood artists are planning to participate, including Patty Perkins, who makes beaded jewelry and teaches friends how to do so at parties. Visit her site for pictures from The Girls Night Out at Cate's recently. Those are her princess pins at the top of this post.

Rebecca Jones, who fostered the feral German shepherds from our greenway, is donating several art pieces along with her husband, Alex.

Here's a list of artists and craft folk.

Kayla from this animal rescue group was the "dog whisperer" who helped Rebecca with the shepherds, so this event is the neighborhood's chance to give back to an organization that helped our greenway feel safer for dogs and people of all sizes.

Details on the event are here.
Information for artists is here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Public art in progress

Merry Oaks artist Greg Scott was one of three artists to show their works in progress Monday night as part of a public art project for Central Avenue. One of his sketches is above.

The artists showed a small group of Merry Oaks residents their works at a gathering Monday at Café Central at the corner off Central Avenue and Arnold Drive.

The projects are funded by the Arts and Science Council. These images were taken of sketches displayed during the gathering at Café Central and will likely vary from the finished works.

Ceramic artist Amy Sanders is the lead artist, coordinating community meetings to involve residents and artists and working with business owners.

The visual art will be transferred to vinyl panels attached with grommets to walls of businesses on Central Avenue near the intersection with Arnold Drive. Informal word is that a long, thin wall at Dim Sum at 3000 Central Ave. will become home to one of the works, and the tall building at 2821 Central Ave. with a large white wall at the corner of Masonic Drive and Central Avenue will hold another. (That's the old Eastgate Masonic Lodge.) The third location remains to be determined.

Other artists who showed their work in progress:

Sharon Dowell, with one of her sketches above; and

Duy Huynh, with one of his sketches above.

Greg and Amy are also part of a local group of ceramic artists Circle of Eight.

Café Central provided hors d’oeuvres for the gathering, including a beautiful dish of quail eggs, soup and prosciutto (below).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yard sales, a creek walk and a party

Saturday, April 18, is MONA Day for the Merry Oaks Neighborhood Association. Yard sales, a creek-cleaning walk along (and in) Briar Creek and a party are on the agenda.

Details, from the Google group:
8 a.m. Shopping locally. About 10 yard sales are going on through the neighborhood. Take a walk and visit your neighbors for some good deals.
2 p.m. Creek walk along Briar Creek. Meet at the bridge on the greenway. Wear old
shoes, waders or boots and clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. Bring gloves if you have them. Long sticks are helpful too. Neighbors will furnish garbage bags, some gloves and at least 1 trash-grabber tool. Even if you don't want to wade in the creek, you can come help pick up trash on the greenway. (If you can't make this date, try to remember to bring a trash bag every time you visit the greenway to pick up trash.)
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Party at Cate's. (See the Google group for location). Bring an appetizer to share. BYOB.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Floodplain returns to green space

In August 2008, the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay dumped rain on Charlotte, sending upper Briar Creek out of its banks and into the 100-year flood zones.
Before that flood, Mecklenburg County had been buying out some homes in flood plains, but some residents remained in danger areas.

This time, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners approved using $4 million in county stormwater reserve funds and up to $2 million of county park and recreation bonds to buy properties in flood zones. County residents pay a fee in their water bill to fund the stormwater program.

Two homes on Harbinger Court in Merry Oaks were bought out and torn down through the program, creating more open space quite near the neighborhood's existing greenway along Briar Creek. For homeowners, the process wasn't easy, giving up their homes filled with memories. But in the long run, the process showed a system that worked, in this case.

The pictures tell the story:

3007 Harbinger Court on Aug. 27, 2008

3000 Harbinger Court on Aug. 27, 2008

March 18, 3007 Harbinger Court

March 18, 3000 Harbinger Court

March 21, 3007 Harbinger Court

March 21, 3007 Harbinger Court

March 29, 3007 Harbinger Court

Demolition sign on Harbinger Court

Storm drain pipe over Briar Creek at the end of Harbinger Court.

Not all the homes affected by the flood have been bought out. Several homes along Masonic Drive on the other side of the Briar Creek greenway were affected. One property owner is raising the level of the house:

Further links:
County stormwater services
FEMA flood plain maps

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eastsiders turn out for Independence

About 30 people turned out Thursday to rally for redevelopment, light rail and strong planning for Independence Boulevard, an Eastside corridor lined by abandoned strip malls and big boxes after road widening.

Mayoral candidate and city councilman John Lassiter plus several television stations turned out as well.

Lassiter spoke with residents about the complicated mix of planning needed for transportation and the luring of business back to the corridor. His main point: The neighborhoods that line the road will likely turn their backs to the road over time as it continues to develop into a high-speed road to deliver commuters into Charlotte.

However, some businesses are planning to return to the area. WSOC reported Thursday that Walmart confirms a new store will be built on Independence Boulevard near Albemarle Road. The store could open in the fall of 2010.

More background:
Eastside Political Action Committee.
Independence Area Plan, from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department.
Map, history and links on Underoak.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rally for Independence Boulevard

The Eastside Political Action Committee is leading a rally from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9, for the Independence Boulevard corridor.

The group has been working for more than a year to support redevelopment of the Independence Boulevard corridor: its neighborhoods, businesses and landowner rights.

Independence Boulevard from Eastway Boulevard to Sharon Amity Road was once a thriving retail corridor; many businesses moved or closed up shop when the road was widened five years ago and access was limited.

In March, Charlotte's Economic Development and Planning Committee proposed a change in land-use plans along the corridor that area residents say will make it harder for businesses to redevelop the area.

Details on the rally, from the Eastside political action committee:
How: Show up and bring a sign. (There will be signs provided if you don't have one).
Where: Independence Boulevard, both sides: The sidewalk of Coliseum Shopping Center just east of the Eastway/Wendover bridge, and between Norland Road and Woodland Drive (the former Shoney's parking lot).
- Support redevelopment of Independence Blvd.
- Support reduction of a 175-foot transitional setback
- Advocate for more information or funding for buyouts of undevelopable property.
- Advocate for an Eastside PAC meeting with the NC Department of Transportation and Charlotte Department of Transportation, as promised at the last rally for Independence a year ago
- Advocate for the support of businesses along the next part of the corridor widening, from Sharon Amity Road to Conference Drive.
- Push for light rail in the Independence Boulevard corridor.

Background links courtesy of the Eastside PAC:
WSOC story, March 2009.
WBTV story, March 2009.
History of the building of Independence Boulevard from historian Dan Morrill
Eastside PAC forum.

Top image from Google Maps. Bottom image from the Charlotte Economic Development and Planning Committee, looking west toward the Independence interchange with Wendover Road/Eastway Drive.