HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — After years of conversation, plans to redo a mile-long stretch of road in Huntersville are moving full speed ahead.
However, the new construction to accommodate a growing town comes with a hefty price.
“I got a 30-day eviction notice. They demanded that we get out by a certain date," said Jim Neitzke, owner of Car’s Superior Auto.
He said he received a letter from lawyers representing the town forcing him out of his building.
“It’s legal in North Carolina for municipalities to take private property for road projects, and basically, the only compensation they have to give you is fair market value,” Neitzke said.
Fortunately, he found a new location about a mile up the road.
The town demolished his former business and several others about a week ago.
“I couldn’t tell you how many nights I couldn’t even sleep. We had nowhere to go,” he said.
Mama’s Pizza across the street is allowed to keep its building, but the town owns the strip of land where customers once parked.
“Once they told us they were closing the parking lot, there wasn’t much we could do,” said owner Frank Manis.
He said he took his concerns to community meetings with no luck getting officials to reverse course.
Manis said he’s now planning to relocate somewhere else in Huntersville.
“I don’t know that we needed to lose all the buildings around us,” Manis said.
The Main Street upgrades include an alternative two-lane street parallel to North Carolina Highway 115 or Old Statesville Road through downtown with roundabouts at each end of the project.
“They want to widen roads. They want to put no impact intersections,” he said.
“I think a traffic light would do the same thing,” Manis added.
The Main Street upgrade comes with an estimated price tag of $17.5 million.
The state is reviewing final plans with road construction set to begin by this spring.
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