• 48°

Editorial: Kannapolis’ bold vision

Hinnant

Darrell Hinnant, mayor of Kannapolis

Darrell Hinnant, mayor of Kannapolis

Someone recently asked Darrell Hinnant, mayor of Kannapolis, where he and his City Council got the grit to buy 46 acres of downtown Kannapolis property from billionaire David Murdock.

Hinnant said there was no grit or bravery to it. People were tired of seeing nothing downtown. The council decided to do something about it, informing the public and taking citizens’ input along the way. The response, he said, has been overwhelmingly positive.

That seems incredible to people in Salisbury-Rowan, where the construction of a school central office came only after 20-plus years of back and forth and even furnishing it becomes a contentious issue. Kannapolis is building a $28 million municipal center and police station with nary a peep. Buying the formerly thriving village property from Murdock came with a $7.5 million pricetag and the onus to turn the project around quickly and make something happen.

In a way, Hinnant and company had an advantage — starting with a blank slate. Murdock had already demolished and removed the huge Pillowtex plant that closed in 2003. The N.C. Research Campus designed to take its place is off to a good start but still far from the full campus Murdock envisioned at the start Meanwhile, the downtown property that Murdock also owned was at a standstill. Whatever plans he had for that area never panned out.

If Murdock couldn’t develop Kannapolis, how can local government do it? City Council appears more committed to make it work and has a strong leader in Hinnant, who sees great potential in his city. Just incorporated in 1984, Kannapolis has quickly risen to become the 20th largest city in the state. The third of its population that lives in Rowan County amounts to the second largest city in the county, after Salisbury. Kannapolis doesn’t have the courthouse and hospital that might come with being a county seat, but it enjoys more leeway — and a lot less second-guessing from commissioners.

Hinnant points to the turnaround that has taken place in Durham over the past 20 years as evidence that an old city can have new life. To lead the Kannapolis project, Hinnant and the council contracted the same company that worked on the Durham revitalization, Development Finance Initiative.

Though Hinnant does not bring it up, the Kannapolis council has some detractors, and a couple of them are running for office this fall. They’re unhappy with recent property tax increases and concerned that the city is putting all its eggs in the downtown basket, while neglecting other areas. Council members need to hear these voices to keep things in perspective. The council cannot, however, change course; they are committed. The future of the city is truly in the council’s hands. That seems to suit Darrell Hinnant just fine.

Comments

Education

Rowan County administers 700 vaccines, with majority going to local educators

Crime

Shoplifting at Walmart presents challenge for Salisbury police

Local

Commissioners will hear details about changes to solar energy policies

Business

After overcoming obstacles, local barber Daniel King earns registered status

Lifestyle

39th annual K12 student exhibitions go virtual

Business

Biz Roundup: Chamber of Commerce to host ‘Salute to Agri-Business’ at March Power in Partnership

Local

Local legislators back bills ranging from new restrictions on sex offenders to Holocaust education

News

After surviving COVID-19 scare, Lois Willard set to celebrate 100th birthday

High School

Carson rolls over South 41-0 as about 600 allowed in to see season opener for both

Education

East Spencer after school program looks toward opening, nonprofit status

Lifestyle

Frank Ramsey inducted into the NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame

College

Livingstone’s Stoutamire inducted into 2021 CIAA Hall of Fame

Nation/World

J&J’s 1-dose shot cleared, giving US 3rd COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

13 deaths reported in Rowan, county stresses need to receive second dose

Coronavirus

10% of Rowan residents receive first dose; eight COVID-19 deaths reported this week

News

North Carolina State Highway Patrol commander to retire

Education

UNC School of the Arts may go for online learning due to COVID-19 spread

Coronavirus

Greensboro site to administer 3,000 daily vaccine doses starting March 10

Nation/World

Update: $1.9 trillion relief bill passes House, moves on to Senate

Nation/World

Lady Gaga’s dogs recovered safely

Coronavirus

Update: FDA follows advisers’ recommendation, OKs single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from J&J

Local

Post wins 18 N.C. Press Association Awards

Education

Cooper vetoes bill that would force K-12 schools to reopen

Local

Lanning named Spencer’s fire chief