Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber, Rotary Club of Clemmons meet for the first time

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2018

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

For the first time, the Rotary Club of Clemmons and the Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce combined forces for a meeting of two of the largest organizations in town last Tuesday night at the Village Inn Event Center.

The gathering, which was called “The Future of Our Community,” included comments by town managers Scott Buffkin of Clemmons and Hank Perkins of Lewisville along with remarks from representatives of the Rotary Club and Chamber.

“We hope we can make this a permanent thing,” said Susan Joy, president of the Rotary Club, of the event that had a crowd of close to 150 people.

Joy and John Golden, who is president of the Chamber, spoke of the impact made by the two service and business groups who both make a difference in the community.

Rotary just hosted the Totally Outstanding Awesome Stroll through Tanglewood, which was one of the events before the official start of the Festival of Lights, as its fundraiser to finance its long list of projects. Joy said that 3,000 members of the community came for the 1.3-mile walk through the lights.

Joy said that the local Chamber actually got its start about 10 years ago as of a result of the Rotary Club recognizing the need for an organization that was going to support businesses in the community, and that was followed by the Clemmons Community Foundation a few years later.

Golden, who is also a member of the Rotary Club, talked about the successful year, including 16 ribbon-cutting events attended by representatives of the Chamber, which now has more than 300 businesses as part of the membership.

Another highlight was the annual Clemmons Community Day, which is hosted by the Chamber in the spring at the Jerry Long YMCA.

“We had over 130 vendors who participated,” Golden said. “We had perfect weather and record attendance. That event requires a ton of volunteers and months of planning, and what does it do? It brings our community together.”

Golden said that the Chamber has taken on a project this year of launching a vocational education-based scholarship fund with the first one named the Mason Hunter Scholarship Program. Mason, a junior at West Forsyth High School, and the son of Brad and Shauna Hunter, passed away earlier this year.

“We are working towards an endowment of $62,000,” Golden said. “From then forward, every year we can award $2,500, and we’ll never run out of money. We are already over $15,000, and we’ve got some matching funds out there.”

Both town managers gave overviews of what is going on in their respective communities.

Buffkin talked about the number of changes to the Comprehensive Plan, breaking ground for the new library early next year, the addition of an Ad-hoc Transportation Committee, and updates on continuing projects such as Lewisville-Clemmons Road, Market Center Drive, the Tanglewood Business Park and connecting communities through a growing network of sidewalks.

“We’re trying to make it a more easily walkable pedestrian-friendly community,” he said before addressing the improvements to Lewisville-Clemmons Road from I-40 to U.S. 158, including a median through the busy stretch. “I’m sure everyone has heard that DOT is looking to do some, hopefully, improvements. I know there is a strong bit of feelings on either side, and I’m not saying it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I think we can all agree that something needs to be done to help improve that area.”

During a later Q&A, Buffkin was asked about Clemmons getting its own police force but said it would be cost-prohibitive with a 15-cent tax cap, and he was also quizzed about Mellow Mushroom coming to town.

“I’ll say that is a strong rumor and a widely believed fact,” said Buffkin, who added that The Habit Burger Grill, a national gourmet burger chain based in California, will be another new local eatery. “Apparently, this will be their first location in North Carolina. The impression I got from their website is a higher-end burger place.”

Perkins said a project that has been discussed for years in Lewisville — the Great Wagon Road — is closer to becoming a reality with NCDOT taking it over with right-of-way acquisition slated in 2020 and road construction starting in 2022.

“That is a parallel road system to Shallowford Road,” Perkins said. “I think you know we’ve got three roundabouts in Lewisville. That project is going to add four more.”

He added that a project is planned for the relocation of a pump station that is currently around the Food Lion shopping center and “woefully undersized” that is being designed to be constructed ahead of the start of Great Wagon Road.

Perkins noted that inside the last 12 months, residential real estate growth has surged with five new subdivisions being approved along with starting about 450 homes, with prices from $300,000 to $750,000.

“Geographically, they’re spread pretty evenly within the town,” he said.

Another big project on the docket is a new middle school coming to town.

“I think their plans are they’re going to have the doors open in the fall of ’19,” Perkins said. “I’d like to see that happen. They haven’t got started with construction yet.”

Another addition will be a sewer line.

“If anybody is familiar with the north end of town, there is no sewer system,” Perkins said. “It’s got septic systems, lots of large lot development and even more acreage out there. So we’re probably going to see a lot of growth in the northern part of town because of the availability of sewer.”

Perkins said that Shallowford Square provides the opportunity for plays, concerts and movies, and that Lewisville has become a popular spot for the Fourth of July fireworks, especially after Tanglewood discontinued having them during the recession.

“We probably had 15,000 people come to us on July 4th,” Perkins said. “The Great Wagon Road is going to put a damper on that at some point in the future because of the growth of the road system and the potential for commercial development. Eventually, it’s just going to become too dense, and we’re not going to get the area for the fireworks celebration. But we’re going to do it again this year, and we’re probably going to have a bigger crowd than we’ve ever seen before.”