Charlotte Relocation Guide

VOL1ISS1 2017

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — CHARLOTTE | VOLUME 1 — ISSUE 1 20 LAKE NORMAN Lake Norman BY ALYSSA LAFARO sister towns, walkability, the water A cerulean "inland sea" stretches 33.6 miles across North Carolina, creating 520 miles of shoreline. Just 18 miles north of Charlotte, the branch- shaped Lake Norman feels like it's always been there — a natural wonder of the state. But, in fact, it was created by Duke Energy in the late 1950s from a series of dams erected within "the world's most electrified river," the Catawba. Today, Lake Norman is the largest manmade body of freshwater in the Carolinas, providing electricity to the Piedmont, as well as water to Charlotte and its surrounding counties. A few of the most well-known suburbs that lie along the lake are the sister towns of Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville. These three Mecklenburg County cities have spent years working together to strengthen this ever-growing region — the population of which has increased by 831 percent from 1990 to 2010. In the late 1990s, they teamed up through the adoption of zoning ordinances to bolster the construction of new buildings and sidewalks along pedestrian-heavy streets to promote walkability. They even combined resources to create Lake Norman Economic Development — a nonprofit that brings new businesses to the region — in 2004, and continue to link greenways so residents can move easily between towns. Most recently, Niche — a website awarding city rankings based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities and local amenities — named Cornelius, Huntersville and Davidson three of the top- 20 "2017 Best Suburbs to Live in North Carolina." The nearly 12,000-person town of Davidson, which ranked highest on the list at number-seven, receives designations like this one often. In 2011, it became one of just 72 communities in North Carolina to be named a "Tree City USA." Before that, in 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency gave it a Smart Growth Award for Overall Excellence due to its successful town planning and design. With more than 14 miles of greenways and bike lanes, Davidson is incredibly pedestrian and cyclist friendly — so much so that the town has avoided putting in drive-thrus of any sort. Davidson carries one more title: college town. The city's third-largest employer, Davidson College currently hosts approximately 1,950 students across 26 majors featuring more than 850 courses. Established in 1837 by the Presbyterian Church, the liberal arts college marks the origins of Davidson as a city — "the college was the town government and even managed police patrols," reports the town's official website. The city itself was called Davidson College until the latter part was dropped in 1891. Industrial manufacturer Ingersoll Rand provides more than 1,600 jobs to locals, making it the largest employer in Davidson. Some of the company's brands include Club Car, the world's largest manufacturer of small-wheel, zero- emissions electric vehicles for the golf industry; Thermo King, a manufacturer of transport temperature control systems; and American Standard, makers of heating and air conditioning products. Industrial supplies remain king in Davidson, as its second-largest employer, MSC Direct, is the leading North American distributor of metalworking and maintenance, repair, and operations products and services. Just a five-minute drive south of Davidson sits Cornelius, coming in at number-13 on Niche's "2017 Best Suburbs to Live in North Carolina." More than double the population of its first sister city at nearly 30,000 people, Cornelius wasn't actually incorporated until 68 years after Davidson's establishment. Cornelius began as a cotton town when Joseph Benjamin Cornelius financed a cotton mill there. Today, Cornelius is a laid-back town that is, arguably, the most commercially viable spot on Lake Norman with its nearly 70 miles of branching shoreline. A relatively young town, with more than half of its population under the age of 40, this water-lined city offers plenty to do. Lake lovers can head to 77 Watersports for jet ski rentals, My Aloha Paddle & Surf for paddleboard classes, and the Stephen Pierce Wakeboard School for both private and group lessons. Foodies will also find paradise in Cornelius. Fork! has become a leader of Charlotte's farm-to-table movement, focused on small plates using fresh ingredients from area farmers markets. >>

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