Landis candidates talk downtown revitalization

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 1, 2013

LANDIS — While money for new projects is scarce, candidates for the Landis town board say new ideas and partnerships will revitalize the downtown area.
Four men, two of whom are incumbents, are hoping their ideas will carry them to victory on Tuesday. Incumbents Dennis Brown and Craig Sloop aim to make returns to the board, while newcomer Dorland Abernathy hopes to usher in change, and Tony Corriher, who has previously served, also desires a comeback.
Brown, who has served as mayor, and prior to that, as alderman, says he believes the board is on the right path.
The town has been actively seeking grants to complete the historic passive park, which will be located downtown. The board has also identified a former theater downtown that it hopes can be used as a community center.
“If we can accomplish that (passive park), then downtown revitalization will follow behind it. It’s a very good possibility that one will lead to the other,” Brown said.
Sloop said the board has discussed doing a street improvement project and those ideas are “not off the books.” He said part of a revitalization plan that the board has discussed includes providing electric vehicle charging stations in the downtown area.
Abernathy said a way to revitalize downtown Landis would be to have more activities that involve the existing businesses, including more events that would bring people downtown. He would like to see the town help promote the current businesses more than it already has.
Corriher proposes working with RowanWorks Economic Development Director Robert Van Geons to help bring more businesses to the downtown area.
“The buildings in downtown Landis are almost beyond repair. Some property owners won’t sell them. How do you revitalize a building if you can’t buy it?” Corriher said.
He said the town has been “lucky” with some of the newcomers to downtown throughout the last several years, some of whom “saw an opportunity to remodel.”
Abernathy, who is making his first foray into politics, has said he would “do what is right” for the residents of Landis and wants people to remember that “every cent spent by the town comes from someone’s pocket.”
He is a retired teacher and former correctional officer. Abernathy is a member and assistant Sunday school superintendent at Landis Baptist Church.
Abernathy and his wife, Colette, have been married for 32 years and have five children and 11 grandchildren.
Corriher has served two previous terms as alderman. He is employed by Landis Plumbing Supply in sales and is currently a firefighter with the China Grove Fire Department. Corriher is retired from Landis Fire Department where he served as chief for two years and as chaplain. He is a member of Landis Baptist Church. He and his wife, Kathy, have two sons, Jonathan and Joshua. The Corrihers also have a grandson named Garrett.
Sloop made his return to the board after an absence of several years in the November 2005 election.
He wants re-election to see existing projects, including the water/sewer system improvements, electrical system improvements, the passive park, a new parks and recreation building and the wilderness trail, come to fruition.
He is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Landis. Sloop and his wife, Sandra, have four children — Geoffrey, April, Jacob and Andrew.
Brown has supported the board’s decisions to upgrade the town’s water and sewer systems, the work on the passive park and wilderness area.
Brown is a captain with the Kannapolis Fire Department and an assistant chief with the Landis Fire Department.
He is a member of First Reformed Church in Landis. He and his wife, Karen, have three children — Travis, Katelin and Tyler.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.