With 1,900 new homes planned, Troutman prepares for boom
Written By: Neal, James. “With 1,900 new homes planned, Troutman prepares for boom.” Mooresville Tribune, 10 July 2017. Article Link.
Photo by: Revock, Ryan. Statesville Record & Landmark
It’s taken several years, but the building boom anticipated in Troutman prior to the financial crisis of 2008 is finally happening.
More than 1,900 homes and 120 apartment units are in various stages of planning or construction. Around 1,000 acres brought into the town limits through annexation in 2008 are set for commercial and industrial development.
Much of the land sat vacant during the recession, said Troutman Planning Director Erika Martin.
Troutman’s population is about 2,500. If home-building plans come to fruition, that number will increase greatly — and rapidly.
BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME
“We don’t have to reach out to [housing] developers,” Martin said. “We have them calling wanting to come to Troutman.”
Andy Galek, senior project manager with True Homes, said his company chose Troutman because of the available land with proximity to Interstate 77 and Statesville.
“We’ve had zero problems selling houses in Troutman,” he said.
True Homes has a 258-unit development at Sutters Mill — one of several developments already through the planning process and approved for construction.
PLACES TO WORK AND SHOP
Attracting businesses to town requires more effort than recruiting housing developers, Martin said.
Commercial businesses come when residential numbers are high enough to support them, she said. Reaching out to them is fruitless until increased population makes the location viable.
“It’s a tipping point,” Finance Director Steve Shealy said. “We need residential developments for that new grocery store to want to come.”
Industrial businesses are where Troutman can make itself an attractive place to move to, Martin said. The town intends to implement an economic development website and streamline its application process for new businesses being planned and approved.
“Troutman’s access to the workforces of the two largest municipalities in Iredell County and the I-77 corridor make it an attractive location to industrial businesses”, said Russ Rogerson, executive director of Statesville Regional Development.
Troutman property owners are already investing in infrastructure for the town’s future business growth.
Kathy Godley, a private developer, is constructing a 301,000-square-foot speculative warehouse on Old Murdock Road. Rogerson has been working with her to market it to potential industrial leasers.
“Troutman has potential and I believe it could really thrive with the community’s support of new and local businesses,” said Hayley Preston, who works at Elegant Monogramming, a business that opened in Troutman in 2015.
CREATING NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE
Troutman hired Kimley-Horn and Associates, a consulting firm, to create a plan preserving downtown’s small-town appeal, provide a means for residents to move around town when U.S. 21 is used as I-77 overflow and protect the Richardson Greenway without slowing the 8,000 to 14,000 vehicles that travel through the corridor daily.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will start surveying for the expansion in the next couple years, according to Jonathan Guy, a consultant with Kimley-Horn and Associates.
Meanwhile, the town is implementing its own improvements to handle growth, like a connecting road between York Road and Massey Street that was built into the new proposed 137-home Brookside development plan.
“We’re not just letting our plans sit on the shelves and get stale,” Martin said.
FUNDING TROUTMAN’S GROWTH
Troutman has received $4.08 million in various grants and matched $1.36 million since Martin took over as planning director in 2011, she said.
The Federal Highway Administration helped fund a downtown sidewalk package at a cost of $1.29 million and $990,000 toward greenway extensions.
The greenway will eventually extend from Troutman Elementary to Jacob’s Woods and sidewalks along Talley, Wagner and Rumple streets will see improvements.
Troutman ESC Park has also seen $20,000 worth of improvements, including items like benches in the dog park, grills, bike racks and trash cans.
Martin said the town will apply for a grant for a children’s splash pad at the park soon. Plans for additional parking, a walking track and amphitheater are also being explored.
With lakefront property and proximity to the second largest city in the Southeast, Troutman plans to be more than a bedroom community for Charlotte, Martin said.
“Most of the grants are competitive and it makes it feel like our town is worth investing in,” she said.
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