The NCDOT N. Highland Lake Road project may seem like a less expensive way for Flat Rock to get a new park entrance or bike/pedestrian pathways, but the preoccupation with trying to get amenities quickly and cheaply can create a tendency to overlook that this road project is unnecessary and that costs associated with the project will impact the village now and in the future.
Because this project is unnecessary, using it to acquire secondary amenities would be a misuse of both taxpayer money and the NCDOT process for determining which roads really need work.
We know from NCDOT’s own documentation that N. Highland Lake Road does not have safety issues and is far from exceeding its capacity to handle traffic (currently it is at about one-third capacity). NCDOT acknowledges that this project will not upgrade how the road functions and that they did not initiate the project. The CLG:Flat Rock position statement on this project ends with:
“Once this project is stopped, there will be time to consider the feasibility of a new park entrance and/or bike/pedestrian paths. To use a road ‘improvement’ project at the cost of $2.7M to gain amenities that cost far less would be misguided governance.”
So, who pays for misguided governance?
Unfortunately, all of us.
NCDOT handles the cost of road work using their funds (our tax money), and the village must contribute 20 percent of the cost for any work done for recreational amenities. The village would also be responsible for 100 percent of maintenance costs of any pathways or other amenities in addition to contributing tax money toward their development. Considering the maintenance expenses of The Park at Flat Rock, we are not sure if the village would have the means to increase its regular maintenance costs at its current property tax rate.