Mount Holly Project Overview
Dear Citizens and Businesses,
We are excited to share the latest updates on our City's projects, events, and economic development initiatives. Our vibrant community continues to thrive, and we're committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. From infrastructure improvements to downtown celebrations, there's always something happening in Mount Holly. To make it even more convenient for you to stay up-to-date, we've centralized this information on this page.
Thank you for your continued support, and let's build an even stronger Mount Holly together.
Danny Jackson, City Manager
WHAT'S GROWING & GOING IN MOUNT HOLLY
Experience the heartbeat of our community where music, laughter, and unforgettable moments come together in the heart of Mount Holly. From summer concerts to the annual Lantern Parade, Yule Love Mount Holly holiday festivities to Spring Fest, there's something for everyone. Learn about our Special Events here.
Yule Love Mount Holly
Celebrate the magic of the holiday season with Yule Love Mount Holly, a series of enchanting events that will fill your heart with joy and wonder. Experience the nostalgia horse-drawn carriage rides as the charming streets come alive with twinkling lights and festive decorations. Delight in the excitement of Santa's visits, creating unforgettable memories for children and adults alike. Be part of the awe-inspiring Miracle on Main Street event, featuring our annual tree-lighting ceremony, live music, food trucks and local restaurants, and an array of vendors and downtown shopping opportunities. Don't miss our nighttime Christmas parade, a dazzling spectacle that will leave you mesmerized.
Learn about new businesses, building renovations, residential developments, and other projects These initiatives are designed to foster growth, innovation, and prosperity for businesses and residents alike in Mount Holly.
The Mayor created a Glendale Property Advisory Committee, which presented recommendations to the City Council on January 9, 2023 (see presentation here). The City hired McAdams in September 2023 for the contract amount of approximately $106,000 that includes site historic research, geophysical archaeological study, concept and design, construction document development. On October 24, 2023, McAdams and City staff conducted a site walk as part of the historic research that will lead into the archaeological work. This is to be sure that any future construction activities do not impact important historical components of the site.
A concept will be presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission in order to provide a recommendation to the City Council that will be in the first quarter of 2024.
FY 23-24 Capital Improvement Plan there is $400,000 in funding for this project. After the design is complete, there will be approximately $300,000 available to start construction. The City Council was proactive in putting enough funds into the current budget to start the project. As part of McAdams scope of work is to develop an estimation of probable cost. This will be helpful to guide discussion with the City Council if additional funds will need to be identified.
Veterans Park Expansion
During the October 23 City Council meeting, Council voted on two key projects that align with the City’s Strategic Vision Plan. These projects continue to enhance initiatives for fostering a vision of the future and reflecting the values of the community.
The Council unanimously voted to direct City Staff to initiate the formal process of requesting proposals from developers for the expansion of Veterans Park currently located a block away from the heart of the downtown district as part of a downtown development.
Amenities will include an amphitheater, splash pad, mixed-use development, and parking. Once completed, the park’s location will serve as the epicenter of the expanded downtown district and the Municipal Complex. The current Municipal Complex campus includes City Hall, the Grand Hall (Mount Holly’s premier event space), the police department, administration offices, the Arts on the Greenway art center, the Mount Holly Police Department Memorial Plaza, and Linear Park a vital cog in the wheel of the Carolina Thread Trail regional network.
Gateway Center Medical Plaza
A lot of people have been wondering about the construction in front of the Fairfield Inn hotel on Highway 273. In May 2023, Regional Developers LLC broke ground on this project. The 23-acre medical office campus is located just off NC Highway 273 near the site of CaroMont Health's new Belmont hospital, which is also under construction. The medical office park's first building will be approximately 62,000 square feet and is expected to deliver in April 2024.
Belmont-Mount Holly Sidewalk
Since 2017, the City has been designing and obtaining easements to construct the sidewalk from Margarette Avenue to the Circle K Gas Station at Belmont Abbey College. Construction began in 2023. This project is crucial as it will enhance pedestrian safety and accessibility, encouraging sustainable modes of transportation while reducing the risk of accidents and promoting community connectivity.
Mount Holly Historical Society & Museum Update (131 S. Main Street)
After discovering mold and other environmental concerns in the unconditioned basement level of the building, which houses the City Archives, the museum’s potential relocation was first brought up for consideration during the Council Annual Retreat in February 2022. At this time, City Council provided unanimous consensus to approve approximately $85,000 in architectural design of the proposed relocation site located at the Municipal Complex.
In September 2022, a “town hall” format meeting was held during the regularly-scheduled Work Session to discuss the proposed relocation and to receive citizen-led feedback from the public. In October 2022, Council approved $85,000 to conduct a facility condition assessment of the Old City Hall building, and the mayoral-appointed task force, called the Old City Hall Facilities Committee, was formed. This group includes representatives from the Historical Society (including its current president and 3 former presidents), City Council liaisons, City staff members, and citizens.
On October 2, 2023, the Old City Hall Facilities Committee unanimously agreed to give the City Council direction to sell the Old City Hall and move the History Museum to the Municipal Complex. The Historical Society board met on October 10, 2023, and requested the City give the Historical Society 30 days to raise funds to purchase the Old City Hall.
During the October 23 City Council meeting, Creech & Associates provided the results of the facility assessment detailed improvements for ADA needs, environmental abatement, and other building code considerations. Additionally, the report indicated asbestos, lead paint, mod and a deteriorating building, with associated renovation costs estimated to be between $1.5 - $3.5 million. Based on the known contaminants, the City could potentially be liable for future legal exposure after being informed of the contamination in the building.
The City Council voted 4-2 to follow the recommendations of both the Old City Hall Facilities Committee and the Historical Society (Ayes - Craig, Meadows, Pawlish, Shoemaker; Noes - Harris, Moore). The motion included an appraisal of the Old City Hall and listing the property no sooner than December 1, 2023 in a public upset bid process, thus providing 50 days for the Historical Society to raise funds starting with their October 10 meeting.
Facility Condition Presentation by Creech & Associates (presented to City Council on June 26, 2023)
Facility Condition Assessment
Hazardous Materials Presentation by Creech & Associates (will be presented to City Council on October 23, 2023)
Mount Holly History Museum Relocation Timeline (will be presented to City Council on October 23, 2023)
Immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of our City's culture through our captivating public art initiatives and recreation offerings. Visit our murals, art installations, and local galleries. Visit one of our beautiful parks and the RiverHawk Greenway, or participate in our adult and youth athletics.
Student-Created Signal Box Artwork
The latest public art project in Mount Holly adds an artistic touch along road ways. Signal boxes, large metal boxes located at every signalized intersection, provide a canvas for public art opportunities. City staff worked in conjunction with NCDOT, and the Public Arts Advisory Commission to identify signal boxes that would be wrapped with the art work of local students in the community. All of the artwork has been installed by our contractor Gaston Printing & Signs, and the winners, all those that submitted work to the art contest, parents, teachers, principals, and Public Art Advisory Commission (PAAC) members were celebrated at the Sept. 11 City Council meeting. To view the completed signal box wraps and the rest of the City's public art inventory, visit our public art story map.
RiverHawk Greenway - Dutchman's Creek
Opened in 2021, this 0.6 mi. section meanders along Dutchman’s Creek, beginning at Hwy 27 and ending at River Street Park. The trail is open to walkers and bicyclists. This picturesque park is home to picnic shelters, a sand volleyball court, an outdoor basketball court, a playground, fishing pier, 9-hole disc golf course, and a natural canoe/kayak access point.
Project Overview: In early 2016, the Eden Group, composed of Preston Wilson (William Henry Salon and Spa) and Jon Bradley, owned the building along North Main. During this time, they were doing renovation work for a new roof for the since-shuttered Jacqueline’s Boutique. They uncovered an old Coke advertisement for Rhyne’s Grocery when removing the plaster wall tied to the roof. As a result, City staff started an inquiry and an investigation into funding for the Coke mural restoration through a partnership with Coco-Cola Consolidated Bottling Company in Charlotte.
After years of combined efforts, City Staff discovered that Coke Consolidated management was not too keen on doing the legwork and funding the mural restoration, as there was no cost estimate, no idea what the mural looked like originally, and no path forward to hire a qualified artist to restore it. The Eden Group subsequently sold the two buildings to Helly Krajan for her nail salon and Barbie’s Encore Dance; it was painted over during renovation work With the sale of the building, the pursuit of the Coke mural restoration was put on hold.
Years later, Boyce McKinney, having recently completed the mural at the Mount Holly Community Garden, was really fascinated by the story and background when he and former mayor Bobby Black spoke. Mr. McKinney asked Greg Beal, Planning & Development Director for the City, for some background, and then he really dived into the research component that was needed. He learned that the mural with the slogan "it's the real thing" was not introduced in Coca-Cola's marketing plan until the late 1960s. Perhaps this mural is not as old as originally thought, but it does have some history in Mount Holly. Research also pointed to a mention of an Ice and Penguin mural next to the Coca-Cola mural.
The City allocated $10,000 toward the restoration of the Coca-Cola mural. The City is committed to ensuring that the mural remains in good condition throughout its life. Building owners, Helly Krajan and her husband, Soai U. Dagout, have fully supported the Coca-Cola mural restoration, and they approved the needed easement agreement to make this project a reality.
This park located right below the dam is home to a 1.6-mile natural surface walking trail. The park also has almost 2 miles of mountain bike trails. Mountain Island Park at Mount Holly also includes an accessible fishing pier, a natural canoe/kayak launch area, playground, and group primitive campsites.
Description: Two miles of fun and exciting mountain bike trails are featured at Mountain Island Park. The mountain bike trails were built and are maintained by the Tarheel Trailblazers. The trail has many curves and jumps and is sure to be enjoyed by mountain bikers of all levels. See map here.
An agreement between the City and the Tarheel Trailblazers has been in place since 2018. This agreement has allowed the non-profit group to build and maintain over 3-miles of trails with more miles planned. This is becoming a destination drawing visitors from across the region.
In October 2018, the City partnered with the Arts on the Greenway to lease the City-owned building as the headquarters for the non-profit organization. The group was located in Gastonia, but moved to the 10,000 square foot facility with a five-year lease. A mural entitled "Three Little Birds" was painted on one of the walls. Inspired by Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds song, "Singing don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright”. This wall was brought to life by artists Sydney Duarte and Treazy Treaz.
In 2019, the improvement of the mill's former loading dock was converted into a landscaped patio area for visitors to enjoy. This enhancement to the corner of the block meshes well with the greenway along the railroad corridor of Central Avenue.
Project Overview: Local artist Emily Andress of Awaken Gallery created the sculpture that sits at the heart of the Pollinator Garden. Her vision features a Native American woman surrounded by and holding the flower of royalty. She intentionally chose colors that attract pollinators, such as bees. The entire piece is crafted from laser-cut pieces of mild steel which were then welded, painted, and sealed. At certain points of the day, the light that shines through the bee-shaped hole in the middle of the sculpture casts a shadow on the surrounding flowers. Read her artist statement here.
The Plaza will serve as a fitting location to honor Tyler Herndon, the fallen MHPD officer who lost his life in the line of duty in December 2020. It will also be a place that will celebrate the vital role that law enforcement professionals play in our community as well as recognize the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. The Plaza will tell a story of service, commitment, sacrifice, community, and connection to the community.
Engraved Bricks: The bricks offer a way to allow community members to share in the story and become a lasting part of this important community location
Eternal Flame: The eternal flame represents the service of those that came before us, of those that are currently serving, and of those who will choose to make the commitment to serve future generations. It insures that we always remember this service and that we will never forget the ultimate sacrifice paid on behalf of our community
Bronze Statues: These statues help to illustrate the connection we share with our community, and our gratitude to those that have served and made the ultimate sacrifice
Blue Lights: This acknowledges the support our community displayed to honor the ultimate sacrifice paid by our Officer when they proudly burned blue lights across the city in honor of Officer Herndon
Location of Officer Tyler Herndon's vehicle: This location was the focal point of an organic memorial that quickly became an important gathering place for reflection, support, and healing in the community
Connected to Greenway System: The Memorial Plaza will serve as a special place to stop and visit, reflect, and enjoy nature as visitors take advantage of the beautiful greenway in Mount Holly
Walking Distance of Historic Downtown District: The Plaza will hold significance as a meaningful location with a "sense of place" that will be a natural attraction for visitors of our downtown district
Project Overview: The bright and colorful panoramic painting, named “This Enchanted Forest” , was created by muralists Sydney Duarte and Treazy Treaz and took a week and a half, most spent in the rain, to complete. The piece was created on the side of the building to encourage passersby to slow down and reflect on their personal connection to the natural world. The mural honors and celebrates the City’s commitment to connecting community and nature.
Some of the symbols found within the mural:
- Wildflowers and Animals, native to North Carolina and Mount Holly, remind viewers to preserve Mother Nature for a prosperous future.
- Glowing Lanterns represent Mount Holly’s annual Lantern Parade.
- The Firefox is a mythical creature in Nordic culture that is said to create the Northern Lights by running through the forest, throwing sparks into the sky with its flaming tail.
- Mother Nature’s green skin, leafed clothing, roots, and braided hair represent the multiple cultures, including the Cherokee and Catawba Nation indigenous tribes, of the Mount Holly community.
- (Hidden) Ladybugs represent good fortune. Many are hidden throughout the mural and visitors are encouraged to find them.
- The Happy Raccoon represents welcoming energy. After releasing two lanterns into the sky, the raccoon is standing with open arms to greet viewers with a hug.
- The bird resting on Mother Nature's finger flew over from the “Three Birds” mural (see above), singing lyrics from the similarly-titled Bob Marley song: “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright.”
The City coordinated with the railroad to enhance the visibility of this underpass with fresh paint. This will help guide visitors to the trailhead of the greenway.
A variety of project betterments (including mast poles and landscaping) and utilities relocation, are funded and managed by the City of Mount Holly.
Project Overview: The bike rack was initially paid for with funds set aside during Year One for Public Art. City Council set aside $50,000 for public art in Year One of the 2021-22 fiscal year. The artist selected was Jan Craft, a well-known metal sculptor, who lives in Gaston County with a total cost of $5,000. Artist Jan Craft worked with a local fabricator for many months, after gaining approval on the design of the artistic bike rack through the Public Art Advisory Commission. She previously designed and installed the sculpture in front of CaroMont’s Regional Medical Center in Mount Holly.
In an effort to support public art, the Mount Holly Community Development Foundation donated $5,100 in funds (once set aside for a downtown kiosk) in favor of reimbursing the City for the artistic bike rack that was under construction. This took place through a formal presentation at the September 12, 2022 Council meeting. The artistic bike rack took some time to fabricate, and once delivered, the brick pavers would not secure it properly. Jeremy Moss, Building and Maintenance Supervisor, and his team worked with a contractor to install a concrete base and secured the artistic bike rack on Friday, January 20th, 2023.
The CTT and City are partnering to install trail signage throughout the City's greenway system. This should begin in Spring/Summer 2022.
Since 2017, the city has been designing and obtaining easements to construct the sidewalk from Margarette Avenue to the Circle K Gas Station at Belmont Abbey College. The goal is to begin construction as soon as 2022.