Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - July 10, 2007

Development would benefit York County

Newland Communities of Charlotte is proposing a conservation-oriented development on the former Bowater property that sits adjacent to the Catawba River in York County. We feel that this project, under Newland Communities oversight, offers York County residents several benefits.

By way of background, Newland Communities is one of the most conservation-oriented developers in the nation. Newland has in-house sustainability experts whose job it is to make use of the latest green building techniques and sustainable development practices for Newland Communities projects throughout the nation. Among the benefits Newland would bring to York County are the following:

• First, more than 30 percent of the Bowater project site will be conserved as native forest and open space. Newland Communities is committed to protecting the water quality of the Catawba River and the small tributaries running from the project site into the Catawba. That amounts to more than 700 acres of parks and greenways integrated throughout the project. Included in this strategy is a proposal to develop and open for public access a 4.5-mile riverfront trail along the Catawba. This section of trail would eventually link to the Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill and become the first leg of a proposed 15-county, 500-mile regional greenway, called the Carolina Thread Trail.

• Second, there has been conversation in York County that another entity should purchase and conserve the entire Bowater tract. While this is a laudable proposal in theory, it seems very impractical given the extremely high land cost of the Bowater tract. On the other hand, Newland Communities has pledged to work with York County, Rock Hill and Fort Mill to ensure that the Catawba riverfront and adjacent lands are conserved, developed with trails and river access, and opened for public access and enjoyment. Newland Communities will deliver on this commitment at no cost to local residents.

Third, Newland will be building a new master-planned community, not just another subdivision, adjacent to Rock Hill, that will provide affordable, quality homes to residents of the County, who will enjoy living in a unique, truly park-like setting.

We urge elected officials, the business community, conservation community and area residents to support the Bowater project and become involved in the planning and design for Catawba River Greenway element.

Charles A. Flink, FASLA

President, Greenways Inc.

Durham, N.C.

Randall Arendt, ASLA

President, Greener Prospects