MINT HILL, NC – At the December Chamber of Commerce Member Luncheon, Town Engineer and Director of Public Works Steve Frey presented a look back at 2022 and a look ahead into 2023. Frey aimed to equip Mint Hill’s business leaders with knowledge about the Town to help them make informed decisions as well as to dispel misinformation about development.
There are numerous ways to talk about “how big” Mint Hill is, and one of those metrics is how many people live here. Mint Hill’s population currently sits at about 27K (a number that factors in growth since the 2020 census). Those 27,000 people live in just under 9500 residential units (a number generated from the number of rooftops that receive trash service in town). Those numbers represent a growth rate of about 16% since 2010, which puts Mint Hill slightly ahead of the state average of 10%, meaning that Mint Hill is growing just a little faster than the rest of North Carolina.
“If you ask an engineer to describe how big Mint Hill is, I’m going to answer you in terms of infrastructure,” explained Frey. Mint Hill currently has just over 123 miles of roads in Town. If all neighborhoods currently in development finished tomorrow, Mint Hill would have about 132 miles of road, a high number for a Town of 25 square miles.
What do those numbers mean? “People want to live in Mint Hill,” says Frey. “Mint Hill is that hidden gem in Mecklenburg County. People want to live here; developers want to build here.”
In terms of development, Mint Hill currently has about 20 active residential developments that range from breaking ground to finishing final inspections. These developments are distributed relatively evenly throughout Town with a slightly heavier concentration in the downtown corridor. Although several potential commercial developments are currently under discussion, there are none that have been approved or begun.
“There are no signs of slowing down,” said Frey of Mint Hill’s growth and development. “I’d have said COVID would have killed the residential market. It didn’t – it accelerated. I would have said the supply chain issues would have killed it, but they didn’t. It’s still going. It’s mind boggling, unprecedented if you ask me. I’ve never seen it like this before.”
The past year has been a time of planning and preparation for the Town of Mint Hill, which will be followed by what Frey called a “tsunami of work coming our way.” In 2022, the Town completed two small “gap filler” sidewalk projects: the first accounted for heavy foot traffic on Central Drive, and the second connected two neighborhoods on Bartlett Road. 2023 will see continued work on the design of a $3M grant-funded project to complete a 5-mile loop of sidewalk around the Town of Mint Hill. This project is expected to begin construction in 2024.
Two years ago, Mint Hill received $8.8M in ARPA (also known as COVID relief) funds, and they’ve elected to spend the bulk of those funds on Mint Hill’s parks. 2022 saw reconstruction of the tennis courts at Veterans Park, including converting one to a pickleball court. Currently under construction is the original 1997 toddler playground, which was in need of replacement. I
n 2023, new LED sports lighting will be completed at both Veterans and Wilgrove parks, but the biggest project coming to Veterans Park in 2023 is conversion of the soccer fields to synthetic turf. The combination of LED sports lighting and synthetic turf will be a true game-changer for Veterans Park, greatly expanding the fields’ availability for play. A new park will also be coming to a 30-acre plot of land off Brief Road across from Mint Hill Athletic Association. The park will include a playground, a dog park, picnic areas and walking trails.
Still in the works is Mint Hill’s new Public Services Facility on Lebanon Road. The much needed facility including a police storage facility, a new fire station and a public works facility is budgeted at $15M-$16M and is getting ready to go out to bid now.
A common complaint in Mint Hill is that there’s too much development without enough attention paid to traffic. The Town plans to address the problem in 2023 with the help of a $150k grant that will allow them to hire a consultant to look at all of Mint Hill’s intersections and project how they’ll be used in the future. The information garnered from this project to guide future development and curb congestion.
Two big NCDOT projects that will affect Mint Hill are currently on hold. The widening of Highway 51 from Lawyer’s to Butler High School has been delayed by funding shortfalls. It’s unknown when the project will be picked up again, but it will likely be 10-15 years before it’s started. While a larger project to address traffic at Idlewild Road and 485 is on hold, there is currently funding for a roundabout on Idlewild at Stallings Road, which will help to alleviate traffic heading to the interstate. It’s worth noting that these projects were on the books long before the hotly-debated development currently under consideration on the Matthews side of the Idlewild/485 interchange.