Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Introduction

This is my first blog...ever, so I'm just getting started with this new system. I wanted to just introduce myself to all of you in the neighborhood and let you know that I am looking forward to working with you on making the Third Ward the best neighborhood in Uptown.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Third Ward Transition / Mike Sposato & Tracey Wopperer / Farewell

Thanks for reading through this important announcement.  This week I will step down as president of the Third Ward Neighborhood Association as my family prepares for an out-of-state move.  I am very pleased to report that board members Mike Sposato and Tracey Wopperer will assume the roles of president and vice-president, respectively.

Many of you know Mike as a business and property owner who has been active in condominium association leadership and neighborhood activities like the Third Ward Tailgate.  Mike is organized and very motivated to begin.  I know he will do an excellent job keeping focus on key issues concerning residents and homeowners.

Likewise, you know Tracey from her work on the Tailgate, community garden, and branding initiative, for which the association honored her in 2009.  She has also served in condominium association leadership, as well as numerous other civic activities.  Tracey is another excellent representative for Third Ward, and I encourage you to be in touch with her and Mike directly.  I will remain in service to the neighborhood through the duration of the upcoming signage project, and as a resource to Mike, Tracey, and the rest of the board as needed.

This isn't the Oscars, but I will enjoy having your attention one last time :) Please accept my thanks for your support over the past three years, with extra-special thanks for the exceptional efforts of the board, Darlene Heater, Little Red Bird, Hartigan's Irish Pub, and my lovely and patient wife Jennifer.  A few closing thoughts...

I hope that you enjoy the close sense of community that my family has found here.  This is a distinct, remarkable neighborhood with a singular identity in Charlotte.  I hope you are as proud as I am to live in Third Ward.

I hope that Third Ward's sense of hospitality remains strong.  Having adopted a university and (at least one) stadium as our own, with much more on the horizon, we must be the most welcoming neighborhood around.  That said, I hope the neighborhood continues to celebrate and protect its residential quality of life too.

Finally, I hope that you consider Third Ward citizenship compelling, even demanding, as so many board members and volunteers do.  The neighborhood association is hard-wired to connect with you, and the same could be said of Irwin Avenue School, Charlotte Center City Partners, and the Gateway Village YMCA.  There are great ideas, but absolutely nothing happens without people who show up ready to get their hands dirty.  People like that make this neighborhood great.

The next meeting will be Monday, April 18th, 6:00p at the Gateway Village YMCA, with guest speaker Joe Frey of the Johnson & Wales Way/West Fourth Street Extension project.  Hope you can make it.

Thanks again,
John

--
John Schwaller
President
Third Ward Neighborhood Association

Monday, March 7, 2011

West Fourth Street Fire UPDATED

Margaret Brown, a four-decade resident of Third Ward, perished this morning in a house fire.  Her grandson was hurt in the fire as well.  Please see this Observer article for additional details, and keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

CCCP Update

It is well-known that last fall the neighborhood association and Charlotte Center City Partners (CCCP) opened new lines of communication including cccpfeedback@third-ward.org. Thanks to your feedback, I have been able to work with CCCP to identify and implement ways we can work better together. These include:
  1. Clarifying the process and annual timeline for sharing neighborhood priorities, and having them included in CCCP's program of work (template).
  2. Ceasing the combination of the distinct communities in First Ward, Third Ward, and Fourth Ward into a too-general "Uptown neighborhoods" category in CCCP reporting. CCCP will begin identifying the neighborhoods - and their respective programs of work - separately.
  3. Successfully seeking private funding for the City Market. A grassroots Friends of the City Market group has been launched by former Friends of Fourth Ward president Rob Cummings (contact).
  4. Launching a resident survey. A telephone survey, followed by a series of focus groups, are planned to better understand the quality of life, needs, wants, etc. for Uptown residents. Please, please take the opportunity to participate if you are called upon. This information will be translated into "actionable data"; in other words, used to ensure CCCP's program of work is relevant to the residents who fund it.
  5. Including more information about neighborhoods in the annual State of the Center City report.
  6. Initiating a quarterly newsletter to inform stakeholders (including residents) of CCCP's activities. This will be distributed to all CCCP constituents, again including residents.
  7. Reviewing the need for additional seats on CCCP's board for residents. As has been shared previously, only two seats (of 25 voting, roughly 38 total) are earmarked for residents at this time. I believe the addition of seats for residents will 1) invite more inclusion of resident priorities, and 2) encourage/require residents to take a more active role.
  8. Posting information on CCCP's board, governance, and finances on their website for public accessibility.
  9. Continue the efforts of VP of Urban Living Darlene Heater, and regular meetings between neighborhood association presidents and President/CEO Michael Smith.
Altogether, I believe these are positive steps forward that will enhance the relationship between our neighborhood association and CCCP. Of course there is still work to be done. If this is a topic that interests you, please stay informed and stay in touch with me via president@third-ward.org (or cccpfeedback@third-ward.org).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ballpark Opponent Has "Nothing More to Say"

WSOC reports that Jerry Reese, who has opposed the Charlotte Knights stadium long planned for Third Ward, has lost his final lawsuit.  Reese did not vow to continue his opposition, as he has in the past.
The stadium was planned for Third Ward as part of the "land swap" engineered by Charlotte Center City Partners, which also created plans for a residential renewal in Second Ward/Brooklyn.  Romare Bearden Park was shifted south and east, away from its original location, to make room for the stadium.  The extended schedule associated with this change, along with Mr. Reese's lawsuits, ultimately delayed construction of both projects indefinitely.
In an Observer article, Knights Vice President/General Manager Dan Rajkowski reaffirms the team's plans to be Uptown "eventually."  CCCP's Michael Smith acknowledges the stadium can't be built at this time, but wants the option preserved for the future.
Clearly, whatever is decided has an impact on quality of life for Third Ward residents and homeowners.  What do you think?  When will Third Ward get its stadium and park?  Is there a better plan?  Join the conversation at Third Ward's Facebook page.