Networking

Beer, wine maker has new home in Belmont textile mill

We love it !

Of all the uses for former textile facilities, warehousing being one, enterprises such as an internet sales of beer and wine making don’t usually top the economic development list.

Alternative Beveridge has been around awhile and recently moved operations to Belmont, and the Gazette highlighted the operation in East Belmont in a recent article.

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(Mike Hendsill – Gazette Photo)

In our humblest opinion, the entrepreneurs of the world are at the top of the list. Several of our blogsite readers and commentors own these types of businesses and are quite successful. Some grow to become giant organizations, others provide a comfortable living for the owners and employees within a community. So, kudos to ya’ll who have those types of visions and determination to make a business grow and thrive over time.

What we like about Alternative Beveridge is the simple way of teaching and servicing their customers.

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A simple way to homebrew

Program on Montcross project Dec. 13

The Belmont Chamber and Belmont Abbey College are hosting a program on the 1,100-acre Montcross development project on Dec. 13.

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(Montcross Development – Wilkinson Boulevard Side)

The program, which includes networking and refreshments, is from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. on the Belmont Abbey campus.

Project designer Bill Monroe, president of Charlotte-based WGM Designs, Inc, will speak about the project and answer questions. Networking will start at 5:30 p.m. in the Haid Ballroom with the Montcross presentation starting at 6:30 p.m. in the adjoining Haid Theatre.

Montcross is a commercial and residential project stretching along Interstate 85 from the Catawba River to the South Fork. The plan touches four towns: Belmont, Mount Holly, Cramerton and McAdenville.

A Wal-Mart Supercenter opened on the property last year. Opening in December are Lowes Home Improvements, BB&T and Hampton Inn.

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As more property is developed over the next 20 to 30 years, it is estimated that 10,000 people may be employed in the project, which has been called the next Ballantyne.

Montcross is a partnership involving land owned by the Southern Benedictine Society of North Carolina (founders of Belmont Abbey College), Pharr Yarns, Parkdale Mills and R.L. Stowe Mills.

There is no charge for the program, but registration is requested by email to info@belmontchamber.com or by calling 704-825-5307.

Observer article by Joe DePriest

8 candidates seek 3 open Belmont seats (Updated)

That’s It ? , that’s all the Observer could write?            vote.jpg 

They are not “open”, they are contested.

Is this all that we are going to get from the City Council candidates this year?

You have to buy a copy of the Thursday (10/18)Observer to get more information. To be fair, there is a bit more information from the generic questionaire that was sent to all the candidates.

becky-burch.jpg Becky Burch: “…she would encourage the development of one shuttered textile mill to be converted into a nursing home…”  and this helps the tax rate how?

“Burch said council members have the authority to ask developers to leave room for these areas, she said. They haven’t made that request yet though, she said.”  WHY haven’t the council members made those requests – YET ?

We are not making this up – these are quotes from the Charlotte Observer.

irl-dixon.jpg  Irl Dixon: “While some candidates say they are concerned about high property taxes, Dixon said the tax rate dropped last year and he expects it to do the same in the future because of the development of high-end, waterfront homes”.

Does this give credence to the term “economic-genocide” that East-enders and South Point residents are concerned about? Push out the existing homes to build McMansions along the lake, reducing visibility and accessibility. This is a concern here in this community.

charlie-flowers.jpg  Charlie Flowers:  “If re-elected, Flowers said he will push for businesses to fill the now empty textile mills”.

Too Late Charlie !  Most of the mills have been torn down or are in the planning stages to be torn down. We cite the examples of the Belmont Hosiery plant – now, called Belmont Reserve. We cite the Imperial Mill – now vacant, and its mill village called Hawthorne. We cite the Acme – now the space for development. This site even had a viable park area that the city acutally refused to use (Woodlawn) in the late 1990’s. How about what once was the Belmont Dyers, now torn down with development plans for high-end housing. Even the cotton warehouse that Stowe Mills used over on Eagle Road (a perfectly good pre-cast concrete structure) was torn down to make way for the clear-cutting that is now known as Eagle Village. Not even going to discuss in any detail the tearing down of the Eagle Mill for $500,000 unsold homes across from Belmont Central.

rfoulk.jpg  Ron Foulk: “…61-year-old political newcomer said council members have budget responsibility…”.

He’s not a newcomer — he has run for City council in at least 2 other elections. He also opposed the Amity Acres annexation into the city in the 1990’s. How can you trust someone who will be opposed to future annexations.

curtis-gaston.jpg  Curtis Gaston: “He would favor a building moratorium, especially on large subdivisions.”

Once again, the Pittenger/Duke(Crescent) property is already under design – that’s over 1,000 acres of voluntarily annexed land. The city has had jurisdictional control for over ten years on this property and until it was sold to State Senator Pittenger, nothing was done to guide its development direction.  Young Mr. Gaston needs to be more involved. He has promise but will he be committed in the long run?

stowemanorlogo.gif Martha Stowe: “…It [the land use plan] doesn’t prohibit developers, it just makes sure you’re working in tandem with developers,” she said. “As much development as we’re seeing in Belmont we’re going to have to do something other than what we have done…”

So, what are your plans and ideas?

Richard Turner:  “…The recent land-use plan lacks teeth, Turner said, and developers have been able to build as they wanted using conditional zoning. He said the city needs a public facilities ordinance that wouldn’t allow growth beyond the city’s ability to service it…”

Dennis Boyce: “Did not respond”

We hope the BannerNews and the Gazette will expand these questions.

We find it amazing that wherever you see a Burch sign in a yard, there is a Flowers sign right next to it. If it looks like a ticket (signs), sounds like a ticket (identical votes on all issues before council), it’s probably a ticket. Vote for one, get 2.  And we thought that the politics in Belmont was “non-partisan”.

Law enforcement hope Habitat house will help improve neighborhood

Habitat for Humanity of Gaston County continues to build homes and hopes for families throughout Gaston County.

Their most recent home is now under construction in the Highland community on Pryor Street in Gastonia.

If you would be interested in volunteering on a Habitat project, you should call 704-864-6536

Congratulations to Habitat for keeping housing affordable so that all people can participate in “The American Dream”. 

Rally held to raise support for monument in East Belmont

Former students, teachers and friends of East Belmont met recently in the Life Center of Part Street United Methodist Church for a fundraising rally.

We can’t think of too many cool things to do sometimes. Neighbors from all over Belmont have taken on several preservation activities of the “old” Belmont. This project to erect a monument to the East Belmont School comes on the heels of the successful opening of the Belmont Historical Society, and the Reid Community’s annual festival.

When the discussion of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan was going on, the term “neighborhood preservation” was thrown about. These projects contribute to neighborhood preservation efforts and we feel they should be supported.

Get out and be active in your neighborhood. There are plenty of stories to share with us all, young and old, newcomers and natives.   

Fall cleanup scheduled in Belmont

The annual fall “Big Sweep/Litter Sweep” cleanup sponsored by Keep Belmont Beautiful and the City of Belmont is Saturday, Oct. 6.

Volunteers will meet at Stowe Park at 8:30 a.m. for refreshments and assignments for cleanup areas. The anti-litter project begins at 9 a.m.

Gloves and litter bags will be provided. Volunteers will work in their assigned areas for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

For information call 704-825-8587.

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“Run for the Money 6” Plans Already In The Works

The Community Foundation of Gaston County has announced that the Run for the Money “6” will be held in the spring of 2008.

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What started as an effort to expand the unrestricted giving by the foundation beyond the groups with the wherewithal to write grant proposals, has become an annual support program working with over 105 community non-profit groups.

We on the Front Porch feel that this program is both good and bad for the community.

On the good side, the Run for the Money program affords everyone the same opportunity to get their story told. The CF Gaston partnership with the Gazette allows for the publication of several “tabs” that list participating agencies and their missions.

Another good point is that the Community Foundation is more accessible to these smaller groups. For years, the CF board was dominated by a certain “good ol boy” network that parceled out funds to favorites and darlings. Paired alongside the United Way, roughly $2-3 million went to roughly 20-25 organizations each year. In our opinion this is a much fairer process. 

The best part of the program is the “matching process”.

The matching process is limited to the “first $10,000 raised”. This means that organizations will receive a match of an established percentage up to their first $10,000. Over the years this match by the community foundation has hovered between 60 and 70 percent. If your organization raised 3,000 dollars for the CF, you would receive $4,950 (at a 65% match rate). Pretty good change for small groups. Everything over $10,000 was not matched, but the participating organization gets to keep all those funds dollar-for-dollar.

The larger, more organized, and creative organizations routinely have received a CF check in the May wrap-up event from about $28,000 to $40,000. A very good annual support program.

Some of the difficult issues with the Run for the Money are the number of special events and “competitions” that have branched out from the actual 5K Run and Displays on the day of the event. Of course, there are incentives to participate, winners routinely receiving additional funds from $100 to $1000  for placing in the top three or five of whatever event. Organizations that are strictly volunteer-led and staffed become burdened with keeping up with the groups that have paid-professional staff leadership.

As with all “competitions”, people have figured out ways to get a jump ahead of the others for recognition and support. A small number of organizations begin soliciting their supporters ahead of the established dates. The Foundation has not figured out a way to monitor these practices.

One of the major “no-nos” in this program is the routing of “already designated” funds and restricted giving programs to the matching numbers. Several church groups, and organizations with endowments are exploiting the loophole of oversight with the blessing of some of the board members — shades of the “good ol boys”. Hopefully, closing that loophole would allow a greater matching percentage to be offered by the Community Foundation.

The last bad effect of the CF program is the damage to the United Way and United Arts annual support campaigns. Most knowledgeable people will demur from the subject, but the numbers , particularly in Pacesetter Campaigns, have to be impacted in some way.

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Overall, all of us sittin’ here on the Belmont Front Porch support the Run for the Money event. We encourage you to support your favorite group of organizations with a contribution to the Community Foundation of Gaston County.