Bond packages put infrastructure needs, affordable housing on the ballot in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE — It’s no secret Charlotte is booming, but with growth comes many needs.

On the ballot this November, residents will get the chance to decide on funding for a trio of bond packages that would support more affordable housing, neighborhood improvement needs and infrastructure to keep up with growth.

Proponents say the bonds are a no-brainer, which is why Kerr Putney, the former chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and Rai Glover, the market president for Truist Bank in Charlotte, are spearheading a campaign to get the bonds approved.

“If we care about the city down the road, we have to pay now,” Putney told Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz.

“I do think that a good city always looks to figure out where there are opportunities to grow, whether it’s in our neighborhoods, our streets or our housing,” Glover said.

Among the bonds on the ballot is a $146.2 million request for repairing and building bridges, redesigning several east Charlotte intersections, adding new sidewalks, installing pedestrian crossing signals and supporting street resurfacing in several areas.

“I think that we have tried to keep up with the growth. The only concern that I mainly have right now is the traffic that we are incurring,” Glover said. “I do believe that our streets can be enhanced. We need more and better streets.”

Also on the ballot is a nearly $30 million request to improve walkability and safety for people in Charlotte’s six corridors of opportunity.

“It’s about making sure that all of our people feel that they’re welcome here, they have a place to call home, they can plant their roots, they can raise their kids,” Putney said.

The other bond is a $50 million request to support affordable housing.

Kelly O’Brien with the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance says the money would go toward building more multi-family affordable housing complexes.

“At the end of the day, if you start your day without a roof over your head, you’re not starting the day in a very good way,” she told Channel 9.

The money would also help renovate some current affordable housing complexes and build single-family, affordable homes.

“It is absolutely critical that the city stay on the path, and at this point, $50 million is the number that we can support, the city can support, without raising taxes,” O’Brien said.

All of the bonds likely won’t impact every street, every home or neighborhood, but the leaders are asking for everyone’s support.

“If we’re not going to continue to invest, to make life better for people now, in 10 to 20 years down the road, we’re going to lose the shining jewel -- which is our neighborhoods -- that really shines brightly for Charlotte,” Putney said. “We’re not going to be the vibrant city that we want to be, because we’re going to be 10 to 20 years behind yet again.”

“They do impact every member of the city in one way or another,” O’Brien said.

Even if all of the bonds are passed, there will not be a tax increase for residents.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Out of space’: Clover turns to voters with $156-million bond to fund new high school)

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.