Looking for help building Providence

Advocacy group reaching out to residents for input

Members of the local advocacy group South Mecklenburg Alliance of Responsible Taxpayers are moving forward on creating a new town in south Charlotte, and they’re looking for people to move forward with them.

There’s a growing movement in south Charlotte to create a new town, currently called “Providence” by many.   SMART is one of the groups pushing for Providence, saying a need is there to create a town for south Charlotte residents not interested in calling themselves a Charlottean any longer due to either dissatisfaction over taxes, local government, the public school system or any number of things.

The group isn’t interested in setting any firm boundary lines on a town as of yet, though people have discussed it going as far north as Myers Park to possibly starting along McAlpine Creek or Pineville-Matthews Road.

SMART isn’t the only group talking about this, with both the area’s county commissioner, Bill James, and city councilman, Warren Cooksey, getting involved in the discussion. James is very much behind the idea of splitting off a piece of Charlotte, while Cooksey worked to get more information out about what it would take for those who are interested.

But now SMART is stepping forward to try and get residents more in the picture as the November election nears and the group sees a chance to get voters’ attention for a future push toward Providence.

The group and a town council it is forming for building Providence is now hosting weekly meetings in Ballantyne in hopes of getting more feedback from locals. The group wants to hear from locals on all manner of issues, asking people to “bring before the SMART Council issues and concerns of those who live, school their children and pay taxes in south Mecklenburg.”

The group says the information will be shared with Charlotte’s city council and the county commission, but will also be used by SMART to further advance a model of what Providence could look like if it came to be in the image SMART is creating – would the town look to form its own school system, if possible; would a new police department need to be formed or would Providence contract with the county; and what other services would residents like Providence to provide instead of getting from the city or the county.

The discussions are all prep work, so if a town was formed, some structure would already be in place. But forming a town is likely still far down the road. For now, SMART will continue to gather information and see what happens.

The weekly meetings are on Wednesday, from 8 to 9 a.m., at the Brigs at 12239 North Community House Road.

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