STEELE CREEK — Mecklenburg County isn’t telling Steele Creek how good or bad it is living. They’re letting residents decide for themselves.
The county and city of Charlotte last week released a quality of life study with the University of North Carolina - Charlotte Metropolitan Studies Institute. The study expands previous versions that focused just on Charlotte, providing detailed information on all of Mecklenburg.
Studies from 2003 to 2010 included Charlotte, using 20 variables for 173 neighborhood areas. Neighborhoods were ranked in categories of stable, transitioning or challenged.
The 2012 version released last week includes all of Mecklenburg County, using four times as many variables for 464 neighborhood areas. The rankings were eliminated, and data was compiled in an online, interactive tool rather than the hardcopy format of previous editions.
According to a news release, “the study is commonly used by residents, service providers, government agencies, real estate agents and universities to help understand the dynamics of neighborhoods. The study data also helps organizations develop programs and determine service delivery strategies for Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents.”
The tool, for instance, breaks down the almost 5,000 acres of Steele Creek east of Buster Boyd Bridge (the average county piece is 752 acres) into educational, economic, environmental, health, housing and other figures detailing anything from developed land parcels or racial makeup to household income, public school testing scoring and Adopt-A-Stream participation.
Data is explained with information on why it matters to residents in that area. Crime rates and fire service calls also are included.
Public meetings on the new study and how to use the interactive tool will be held through February and into early March. The nearest meeting to Steele Creek will be held Feb. 26-27 at the West Boulevard Library, 2157 West Blvd. County staff is available to meet with neighborhoods or civic groups to provide more localized training.
Residents also can peek into Steele Creek’s future at the Feb. 28 Steele Creek Residents Association’s annual meeting to discuss topics pertinent to the area, including the study, at Winget Park Elementary School.
Representatives from three major projects – a planned outlet mall at Steele Creek Road and I-485, expansion at RiverGate shopping center and construction of Berewick Town Center – will be on hand.
“The other topic is the future of Highway 160,” said Dave Wiggins, who runs the resident association website. “We’re not asking it be widened right now, although we would like that. But we want to focus on the process for updating the area’s transportation plan and project rankings, what factors go in to the rankings, and how the community can influence those rankings.”
For more information about the quality of life study or to access the online tool, visit qol.charmeck.org. Residents can email questions or requests for custom training on the tool to firstname.lastname@example.org.