MINT HILL, NC – From the lifting of the county-wide mask mandate in February to the annual Parade and Tree Lighting in December, it was a year packed with events, improvements and good news for the Town of Mint Hill! Join us as we take a look back at some of the highlights of the year.
On February 26, Mecklenburg County officially lifted the county-wide mask mandate, which had been in place since August of 2021. “We have all been waiting for this day for a long time,” Mayor Simmons posted on Facebook on February 22. “I ask you to respect businesses who choose to continue to require masks. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank our businesses, employees, organizations, and residents for all your efforts to keep our community safe over the past two years.”
From April 1 through Easter Sunday, Mint Hill residents were on the hunt for 24 giant Easter eggs hidden at Mint Hill’s local businesses and parks. Clues were posted on social media to help residents find the eggs, and eager egg hunters scanned a QR code at each egg to be entered in a raffle to win $25 Visa gift cards provided by the Arts & Sciences Council.
Veterans Park was packed on May 21 for the Town’s first Music & Brews night. Geared toward Mint Hill’s adult community, the night featured music from Coconut Groove and brews from Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. OMB may have failed to bring enough brews for the crowd, but food trucks, ax-throwing and classic rock made this an event worthy of repeating.
At the June 9 Board of Commissioner meeting, the Board voted to approve the Mint Hill Budget for the Fiscal Year ending June 20, 2023. The budget, which extends through the summer of 2023, included a tax rate of .255 cents per $100 valuation and maintained a $10 registered motor vehicle fee.
Mint Hill Events once again staged a successful series of Family Fun Nights at Veterans Memorial Park. Sponsored by Edifice Construction and Mint Hill Orthodontics, Family Fun Nights featured music from Groove Machine (June 18), Pluto for Planet (July 16), Red Dirt Revival (August 20), and Jay Hoff & Co (September 17). A fun addition to this summer’s entertainment series was the Mint Hill Fire Department spraying water on the lower soccer field to help crowds beat the heat.
The Town closed out its summer entertainment series with the first “Family Fun and Music and Brews Night” on September 17, combining the summer’s last Family Fun Night and the rained-out second Music and Brews Night scheduled for September 10. The night featured music from Jay Hoff & Co; brews from Town Brewing, Triple C and Eleven Lakes facilitated by Pour 64; and Family Fun Nights’ classic inflatables and yard games.
In July, the Town of Mint Hill announced a new program to honor fallen service members, veterans, and active duty service members of the US Armed Forces. To coincide with Veterans Day, seventeen “Hometown Heroes” were honored in November with banners displayed on light poles surrounding the fountain at Town Hall. The banners that hung in November honored Mint Hill’s living veterans; a new round of banners will be hung for Memorial Day next year to honor those those who have passed.
2022 saw the Town break ground on several upgrades to Veterans Memorial Park. In August, reconstruction of the lower tennis court was completed, repairing drainage issues and resurfacing to accommodate two pickleball courts and a POP tennis court. In September, work began on new LED lighting for the soccer fields and upgrading of existing lights on the tennis courts. In November, The Town began the process of replacing the original three-decade old toddler playground with new equipment that will include inclusive features for children with disabilities. In December, work began converting both soccer fields to artificial turf; the combination of artificial turf and LED sports lighting is expected to expand playable time on the fields. A new paved walking trail will also be installed as part of this project. All of the upgrades at Veterans Park are being funded by Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, more commonly known as COVID relief funds.
In late September, Hurricane Ian made its way up the East Coast. Although it necessitated the rescheduling of both the Tina Ross Afternoon in the Park and Oktoberfest, its impact on Mint Hill was luckily limited to brief power outages and fallen limbs.
48 scarecrows graced the streets of Mint Hill during the month of October for the Town’s Annual Scarecrow Decorating Contest. After 8700 votes from the public, Queen’s Grant Community School took first place in the business category, and Jessica Burns took first place in the residential category. The winners were announced at the close of Mint Hill Madness right before the Fireworks Extravaganza lit up the sky!
At the October 13 Board of Commissioners meeting, the Board voted to approve the Land Use Plan. Approval of the plan marked the culmination of nearly two years of work involving a hired consultant, public feedback via meetings and online comments, and a steering committee made up of residents and business owners. Essentially a guide for the Town to use when considering rezonings and future land use decisions (such as ordinance changes, by-right use of properties and land development rules and regulations), these plans are typically revised or refreshed every ten years.
Also on October 13, the Board of Commissioners approved an amendment to the Town of Mint Hill Charter which will change the terms of office for elected officials in Mint Hill from two years to 4-year staggered terms. The change will provide additional stability for Town Hall staff and allow elected officials to dedicate less time to campaigning, leaving more time to focus on governing. The change will happen gradually over the next two election cycles, beginning with a vote for Mayor and all four Commissioners in 2023.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Mint Hill Arts shows returned to Town Hall in August with “Portraits,” featuring the work of Martha Faires and Elisabeth Harvey. The exhibit in the downtown gallery was on display throughout the month of October. From October 21 through the end of the year, Mint Hill Arts was proud to present “Photocentricity” in the upstairs and downstairs galleries of Town Hall featuring the photos and photoart of Cindy Angelleli.
From October 20 – October 22, Veterans Memorial Park was taken over by Mint Hill Madness! The 38th festival celebrating the founding of the Town once again placed the focus on family entertainment with food vendors, live music, and carnival rides and games. The festival saw 18-year-old Piedmont High School graduate Shelby Marie Simones crowned Miss Mint Hill 2022 and included a flu and COVID vaccine clinic from title sponsor Novant Health.
On November 12, the Town honored Mint Hill’s veterans at the first in person Veterans Breakfast since 2019 at Arlington Baptist Church. The program included remarks from guest speaker Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Jenkins (Senior JROTC Instructor at Independence High School and Commander of Mint Hill American Legion Post 555) as well as the presentation of five Quilts of Valor.
On December 3, the Town of Mint Hill kicked off the Christmas season in style! The day began with the Mint Hill Police Department’s 6th Annual Jingle All the Way 5k. 232 runners participated, raising $15,200 for the Volunteers in Police Service and Police Explorers Program, over $3k more than the previous year! The fun continued in the evening with the Town’s Annual Christmas Parade, which featured 92 entries and almost 1700 participants. and the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.
The Town of Mint Hill placed service to others at the forefront in 2022, participating in three different charitable projects. During the month of May in conjunction with the Police and Fire Departments, the Town of Mint Hill “Sprang into Action” to collect items to restock Servant’s Heart’s nonfood pantry. In September, they collaborated with the Chamber of Commerce to collect classroom supplies for Servant’s Heart to distribute to local schools. From November 16 through December 9, the Town conducted a food drive, collecting hundreds of canned goods for Second Harvest Food Bank.
The Town completed two new sidewalk projects this year adding 1200 feet of new sidewalk on Central Drive and 400 feet of new sidewalk on Bartlett Road. In 2022, the Town also began the design phase of a federally-funded sidewalk grant project that will extend along Lawyer’s Road, Wilson Grove Road and Wilgrove Mint Hill Road. Ultimately, this project will complete a loop around a large portion of town. It comes at a cost of $3.1M and will take approximately two years to complete. Submitted for federal grant consideration in 2022 were five new sidewalk projects totalling approximately 4.5 miles in length and $10M in cost. Selection of projects and notification is anticipated in spring of 2023.