KANNAPOLIS — Kannapolis City Council presented the next stage of the city’s vision for the future on Monday evening.
City Manager Mike Legg presented council with seven “priority areas” for the Imagine Kannapolis planning process that the community has been crafting over the past few months.
The focus areas are intended not only to maintain the “goodness” of the city, but also to provide residents with information on what they want Kannapolis to look like in 10 to 20 years.
Before the resolution for these priority areas was unanimously approved by board members, Legg detailed what each of these priority areas would address within the community:
Health and security
One aspect of the health and safety portion of the Imagine Kannapolis plan will focus on “major capital projects” potentially involving the construction of new fire stations, the regional public safety training center in Cabarrus and the renovation of the fire stations. current firefighters.
Other safety projects discussed in the plan include resources allocated to improving lighting along city streets, additional cycle lanes along these roads and the introduction of new technologies to also improve the driver safety in the region.
This focus area will also examine the development of Kannapolis-sponsored programs for youth sports and after-school programs, as well as programming and support for the local senior population.
Human and social needs
The main objective of this section of the plan is to seek solutions to the problems of homelessness and transitional housing in the city.
The focus area will also attempt to assess and introduce plans to improve diversity and economic mobility among Kannapolis residents.
Some of the specific issues that groups working in this area will focus on include finding affordable housing options, addressing any perceived problems in the criminal justice system, and reviewing city policies aimed at providing opportunities to the local minority business community.
Economic dynamism and employment
A downtown revitalization panel spotlights this area of the Imagine Kannapolis plan. Community members will be tasked with creating recommendations for the city regarding the United States Performance Center, growth and a future vision for the North Carolina Research Campus and introducing other outdoor dining options.
This focus area will also seek to create “anchor points” such as parks and museums in the city’s Midway and North Kannapolis communities. The expectation for this group will be to find ways to make the area more attractive for nightlife, entertainment and business development and activity.
This part of the plan will also examine ways to strengthen the Cannon Boulevard commercial corridor and give the city a regional presence as a destination between the economic hubs of Charlotte and Winston-Salem.
Education and learning
This aspect of the plan is intended to offer a comprehensive assessment of the city’s K-12 education system. Community members and consultants hired to work on this part of the plan will look at school infrastructure, programs available to students, and funding for district activities.
The Education and Learning focus area will also be tasked with attracting new teaching professionals to the region while seeking ways to further train the city’s current educators.
Arts, tourism and cultural vitality
This part of the plan is asked to both look at ways to preserve the history of Kannapolis while enhancing the community as a tourist destination.
The task forces for this will recommend plans regarding renovations to the Gem Theater, use of the NC Music Hall of Fame, and possible improvements needed to bring the Atrium Health Ballpark in line with Major League Baseball standards.
Natural and built environment
The most comprehensive aspect of the Imagine Kannapolis plan focuses on the environment within the city. The plan will include considerations for the creation of “Eastside” and “Westside” parks, skate parks, pickleball courts and more.
Working groups in this focus area will also make recommendations on improvements that could be made to existing parks and greenways around the community.
In addition to this, the plan will attempt to find options for beautification programs that can eliminate litter, plant trees and improve code enforcement for local neighborhoods and thoroughfares.
Transportation solutions will also be identified in this focus area, with the plan highlighting the need for more information and recommendations regarding improvements for the CK Rider system, potential road diets along MLK Avenue, among others. junctions, and other solutions for general traffic congestion.
Leadership and government service
The final focus area of the Imagine Kannapolis plan will lay out recommendations on how the city can improve its current facilities, ranging from creating a new warehouse to fitting out City Hall and renovating a other buildings for the disabled.
This area will also explore ways to support a “leadership pipeline” and enhance volunteer opportunities throughout the community.
Imagine that Kannapolis is still in the planning and development stage, but the approval of the latest resolution for these seven priority areas is an important step towards tangible change.
“Over the past decade, we have made great strides in bouncing back from the devastating loss of our largest employer. We have demonstrated that we can revitalize our downtown core and attract new businesses to our city. Now it’s time to go further. What will our city look like in the next decade? What is our vision for our city? Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant said.
To ensure this vision comes to fruition, City Council and Legg have agreed to create 13 primary and 13 secondary “focus groups” that are split between each of the focus areas.
These groups will consist of several groups led by citizens and others guided by local government members, with community input always considered.
“We know people have a lot to do. While this is a very important process for our city, we want the focus groups to be collaborative, represent our city’s demographics, be in-depth, but also fun and rewarding as we work to discover what will be our future,” says Legg.
Those interested in participating in these groups can obtain more information or apply online at www.kannapolisnc.gov/ImagineKannapolis.
Nominations are due by July 18, and any questions in the meantime can be directed to Annette Privette Keller, the city’s director of communications, at 704-920-4311.