The last week of the 2019 Mooresville Citizen Academy has come and gone and now mixed feelings are stirring.
Preparing to go into Week 8 of the academy, I was excited but a little sad.
I do not feel like I am ready to let go of this experience that has not only been informative but fun.
This week, we met at the Mooresville Golf Club — a little change of atmosphere.
We walk into a room with tables lined with table clothes almost as if we are at a banquet. There is even a table lined with food.
With breakfast in hand, I make my way to my seat to see what the morning holds.
And it held a lot.
From parks and recreation to the history of Mooresville, there was a little of everything.
The event started with Mooresville’s Ward 4 Commissioner Lisa Qualls addressing us.
Qualls talked briefly but took questions and concerns.
She addressed the topics that come up frequently with this group, which are growth and traffic.
Qualls sympathized, even expressing that she drives through the same traffic the citizens do and she sees the problem.
The commissioner said Mooresville is not just a location for residents but it is a pass-through area for many who have to get to work as well as an employment center.
So many people who are in the traffic are not necessarily residents of the town, which in turn might make citizens feel like there is an overflow of people in the town.
Qualls wrapped up her conversation with a positive outlook.
“I chose to move here and I love it … that’s why I chose to help,” Qualls said.
The Charles Mack Citizen Center and Performing Arts Center manager Christine Patterson took the mic.
Patterson talked about the 58,363-square-foot location and all it has to offer.
The center hosts more than 1,000 events per year including weddings, trade shows, conferences, training programs and more.
There is even an 8,000-gallon pool. The center hosts community theater events as well as a concert series.
“Our goal for the Mack Center is to provide unforgettable experiences,” Patterson said. “We are really lucky to have a facility like this in our downtown area.”
This is an area that many seniors enjoy as well due to the fact that the South Iredell Senior Center is located on the first floor.
This provides seniors with fitness and recreation, educational resources and connections to services as well as other opportunities.
After Patterson, Darrin Hucks, the assistant director of Mooresville Parks and Recreation gave me information that was not only informative but surprising.
Cemeteries — in fact three cemeteries in Mooresville — are under parks and rec in the community.
The town of Mooresville is doing its best to treat these locations as parks, Hucks said.
They have now worked to implement a walking tour of the cemeteries, which comes with a great book. It comes with a map of the gravestones you are looking for as well as some history of the people whose past is part of Mooresville’s story.
This sounds like a great way to not only learn history but to utilize all of the city’s activities.
Other than cemeteries, Hucks talked about the accomplishment of being Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) Accredited.
This is something that only 12 agencies in North Carolina have accomplished out of 250 and 176 in the United States out of 7,000.
This puts the Mooresville parks in the top 5%. Hucks didn’t shy away from things that can be improved.
Hucks acknowledged that many citizens would like to have more walking and biking paths and in turn they have hired someone to look into how to best improve this for all that use their services.
In addition to this, the town of Mooresville’s Parks and Recreation is working on multiple key projects including adding a new dog park, which it is looking to name after K9 Officer Jordan Sheldon.
Jeremy Elliott, head PGA professional at the Mooresville Golf Club took his stance — literally and asked us to join.
Elliott gave us a minute lesson on how to golf from holding our imaginary club and swinging.
The PGA professional then went on to talk about the facility more in-depth. The location is open 363 days a year and is projected to host 40,000 or more rounds of golf for the fiscal year of 2020.
What is even more interesting is that they have a dog on staff named Chief whose responsibility is to run Canada geese off the plush green grass.
As the presentation takes a turn away from parks and recreation, the town’s library takes the spotlight.
Marian Lytle, director of the Mooresville Public Library, talked about all the new and exciting things that they will have to offer in the future.
“We are doing something we haven’t done before, to my knowledge,” Lytle said as she introduced a speaker’s series.
The event will start at the library with Dr. Bill McDonald, the dean of students at the University of Georgia, in January of 2020 with the next speakers being in the Charles Mack Citizen Center.
Lytle also talked about the digital changes that have been made including the launch of the Library App in June as well as an auto renewal program for books that have no one waiting on them.
In addition to this the library will have new hours coming soon after a survey was done to see what the town most wanted to see out of the location.
“I am so excited … one of the things that come out of the survey is that more people want access on the weekend,” Lytle said.
Beginning Jan. 2, the library will be open Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This will give families more time to enjoy the library resources on Saturday.
“The library is the town’s best public service bargain,” Lytle said.
Lytle even bragged that the library has the cheapest fax service in town.
The library is also working to implement its newest program, Books on Wheels, with the concept of bringing books to citizens who can no longer visit the library location.
With this information Lytle passed the baton over to her co-worker Andy Poore, curator of special collections at the Mooresville Public Library.
Poore took us on a trip down memory lane all the way back to when the town was called Deep Well instead of the new Mooresville.
When the town was incorporated there were only 25 people.
The presentation was filled with photos and information dating back to the 1800s.
“It is important to see the history,” Poore said.
He explained that this is a time we will never see again.
We are living history now and this was a great way to wrap the academy as from this moment on we can decide how we want the future of Mooresville to be and look like as one day this presentation might feature photos of us.
As the academy ends, all who participated will receive a graduation certificate for recognition of completion Monday, Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. in Town Hall during the town board meeting.