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Ray's High School Senior Exit Project

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Impact of the North Carolina Research Campus on Kannapolis

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Ray's High School Senior Exit Project

  1. 1. Ray Atkinson Ms. Morrison English IV 6 November 2008 Impact of the North Carolina Research Campus on Kannapolis In the late 1800's the village of Kannapolis, North Carolina started to grow due to the presence of the Cannon Mills Company. The village grew from an agricultural center where farms prospered, to an industrial center in which workers commuted to work everyday to make household textiles in the Cannon Mills Company. This “industrial” center lasted a good 100 years before it went bankrupt in the 1990s from the collapse of the textile industry in North Carolina. Fortunately for the newly created city of Kannapolis, it was given a second chance to prosper through Mr. David Murdock, who repurchased Cannon Mills, to build a twenty first century company named the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC). At the opening ceremonies of the NCRC, Mr. Murdock stated, “this campus fulfills my lifelong dream of being able to change the world’s thoughts on nutrition and find ways to cure many of the dreadful diseases that have affected all of us and our families. It excites me to think of the groundbreaking research that will occur as a result of having these world class universities and companies here working together all in one place.” Kannapolis has, is, and will continue to experience change as it heads into the new twenty first century world of technology! The earliest signs of the area are the Scots-Irish and Germans from Pennsylvania who bought land from the Granville Grant between 1735 and 1750 so they could settle here (Arthur-Cornett 91). These peoples helped found the counties of Rowan in 1753 and Cabarrus in 1792 when it separated from Mecklenburg County. The town of Glass, North Carolina, absorbed in the 1880's, provided the first platform for the future city of Kannapolis. Glass, located in southern Kannapolis today, was the only trace of a town in what is now Kannapolis (Arthur-Cornett 13). While Glass was a prominent step in getting the area started, it was not able to last due to the increasingly popular Cannon Mills. With the
  2. 2. Atkinson 2 purchase of 600 acres in northern Cabarrus County and 400 adjacent acres in Rowan County, James W. Cannon was able to start the Cannon Mills Company. The area grew with the Cannon Mills Company. The Cannon Mills Company was helped by the plentiful supply of cotton in the area which was used to weave the company into a prosperous textile industry (Kearns 9) (See Appendix A). This textile industry allowed for Kannapolis to stay in existence as it went into the more modern and industrial twentieth century. Life at the textile mill stayed close to normal for the next eighty years until Mr. David Murdock surprised the Cannon Mills Company with an offer to the management in 1982 that it could not refuse. For the first time in Cannon Mills history, the mill was owned by someone other than the Cannon Family. Like any company, Cannon Mills and the workers were more than emotionally anxious in the 1980s when it was sold to Mr. David Murdock. This caused a small panic. During this frantic time, Kannapolis officially became an incorporated town on December 4, 1984 (Kearns 1). Before this date Kannapolis was the largest unincorporated town in the United States. Unfortunately, the panic started again when Mr. Murdock sold the company to Fieldcrest in 1986. A pending bankruptcy, from changing of ownership several times, ended the textile industry for Kannapolis. However, Mr. Murdock brought the city into the twenty first century when he bought the Cannon Mills Company again in 2005 to build the NCRC. With the announcement of the NCRC came optimism of its future success. The Mayor of Kannapolis, Bob Misenheimer, feels “the North Carolina Research Campus is a golden opportunity for all of Cabarrus County and this entire Region.” With the layoff of about 4,300 workers in Kannapolis from the closing of the mill, on July 30, 2003, residents were forced to wait anxiously for the outcome of Mr. Murdock's plans for the mill. Fortunately, this wait did not last long, but it came with sorrow and disappointment by the implosion of the mill on March 24, 2006. From the death of the mill came the birth of the NCRC as it was built and is still being built on the site of the mill (See Appendix B and C). According to an anonymous source, without Mr. Murdock's plans for the NCRC, “the decay of the center of Kannapolis would have been
  3. 3. Atkinson 3 rapid and would have depressed the real estate market far beyond downtown for generations.” Since Kannapolis is having the opportunity to thrive and prosper, it is going to have to continue to experience change as it prepares for the creation of the NCRC (Gross 12). There are so many ways this new campus is being felt throughout the city of Kannapolis and the surrounding area. The NCRC is being felt through the creation of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Projects or Self-Financing Bonds, which are being used to help reduce growing pains in the city of Kannapolis and the surrounding area. According to the mayor, “these bonds will go for improvements that will include new intersections, parks and water and sewer lines” (Misenheimer 1). In order to fully understand what the city is using all our hard earned money, one must understand what Tax Increment Financing or Self-Financing Bonds are. The North Carolina Economic Development Association defines Self-Financing Bonds as “a method for financing public infrastructure that leverages private investments. Increased tax revenue generated by the project pays for the bond.” In comparison, Mr. Brown, of the law firm of Nexsen Pruet Adams Kleemeier, PLLC defines Tax Increment Financing as “bonds that are repaid only from the incremental property taxes resulting from the increased value of property within a specially designated development financing district.” Now that one has the understanding necessary to fully comprehend the following paper, one may proceed in learning about the changes the city of Kannapolis has, is, and will continue to experience as it heads into the new twenty first century world of technology! Even though the TIF projects are for the NCRC, Mayor Misenheimer understands that “seventy-eight percent of the improvements will be made off the Research Campus and will benefit existing and future residents throughout the City of Kannapolis” (Misenheimer 1). This is due to the TIF bonds being able to be used for any project related to the NCRC, which includes off campus projects. One of these off campus projects comes from the western entrance to the city of Kannapolis, Mooresville Road, which will serve as one of the main entrances to the NCRC. To ease our growing
  4. 4. Atkinson 4 pains, the city is using Self Financing Bonds to widen Mooresville Road from two to four lanes from Dale Earnhardt Boulevard to the new Kannapolis Parkway (“NCRC Recommended TIF Bond Structure and Project List” 8) (See Appendix D and F). The bid date for this project is set for June 1, 2010 and is estimated to cost $5,000,000. To help reduce traffic flow on Mooresville Road, the city of Kannapolis and Kellswater residential community have built the Rogers Lake Road Extension, which will be used as an alternate route for drivers going to Kannapolis (NCRC Recommended TIF Bond Structure and Project List 9). To make Kannapolis more accessible, the city of Kannapolis has built a new piece of the Kannapolis Parkway to connect Trinity Church Road to Macedonia Church Road. This has allowed drivers coming off Interstate 85 at exit 54 to have direct access to Kannapolis. Crossing the five lanes of Loop Road these days is not as safe as it once was. To help reduce the risk of injury the city of Kannapolis is taking advantage of replacing the undersized storm drainage pipes under Loop Road to build a pedestrian tunnel from the NCRC to Village Park and to the eighth Street Greenway (“NCRC Recommended TIF Bond Structure and Project List” 5) (See Appendix D and E). In addition to providing a safe way to cross Loop Road, the pedestrian tunnels are providing Kannapolis citizens, visitors, and future employees of the NCRC a way to spend some time with nature at its parks. Coming to a halt at a stop light and not being able to squeeze into the turn lane can be quite dangerous. To keep up with growing pains from turn lanes that are too short, the city of Kannapolis is making several adjustments to its major intersections. Visitors coming from the north to the NCRC will enter the city off Interstate 85 using exit 63. Long time residents of this area have seen considerable growth over the years due to the presence of the Kannapolis Intimidators baseball team. With the growth expected to continue with the creation of the NCRC making it a major entryway into the city, the need for improvements to this exit are ever so important. Fortunately, the improvements to the Interstate 85 exit 63 interchange are not too far into the
  5. 5. Atkinson 5 future. With the bid date for these improvements already past and the estimated cost of the project set for $717,350, the city of Kannapolis is hoping to be able to improve this interchange with the construction of a dedicated right-turn lane onto Lane Street at the Interstate 85 northbound off ramp intersection, increasing the northbound right-turn lane storage length on the Interstate 85 northbound off ramp, and increasing the southbound right-turn lane storage length on the Interstate 85 southbound off ramp (“NCRC Recommended TIF Bond Structure and Project List” 7) (See Appendix D and F). One of the busiest intersections in the city is expected to be seeing a makeover in the near future. With a bid date for improvements to be held on April 1, 2009 and an estimated price tag of $3,447,800 the US 29/601 and Dale Earnhardt Boulevard intersection, which is known by many for its bumps and sharp turns, will be improved with the construction of an eastbound left-turn lane on Dale Earnhardt Boulevard, a westbound left-turn lane on Dale Earnhardt Boulevard, and increasing the northbound left-turn lane storage length (“NCRC Recommended TIF Bond Structure and Project List” 7) (See Appendix D and F). With Loop Road expected to be the major thoroughfare around the NCRC, the city is preparing in advance for where it sees the greatest congestion difficulties from the coming and going of NCRC employees. The US 29/601 and Jackson Park Road/Lane Street intersection is the first major intersection employees will reach when leaving to the north. This intersection currently has a very sharp steep right-turn safer by modifying the curb radii in the southwest corner in front of the Exxon station. To reduce backup on US 29 north, the city is going to construct a northbound right-turn lane on US 29 (See Appendix D and F). The bid date for these improvements will be October 1, 2009 and is estimated to cost $338,300 (“NCRC Recommended TIF Bond Structure and Project List” 7). While reducing the anticipated growth on the roads of the city is beneficial when preparing for such a project such as the NCRC, the city has also seen a need for preparing its utilities. The city is needing to improve its utilities for both residential water uses and in order to pass fire code inspections.
  6. 6. Atkinson 6 To accomplish these tasks the city of Kannapolis is undertaking several major projects to keep up with these high demands. With Fieldcrest Cannon internally providing potable water and fire protection along North Main Street until it was demolished for the building of the NCRC, the city is now going to have to build its own water main. With this step, the city will be one step closer to passing the fire code inspections and providing public water service. The city is planning to accomplish these goals by building 2,800 linear feet of twelve inch water main along Main Street between First Street and North Loop Road (“NCRC Recommended TIF Bond Structure and Project List”) (See Appendix D and E). Since the Water Treatment Plant provides water to the city through sixteen and twenty four inch water lines that are underneath existing and proposed buildings, the city will be forced to move them since they cannot be maintained. Another potential difficulty facing Kannapolis is if the lines were to fail causing them to do major structural damage to the surrounding buildings. After the creation of approximately 600 linear feet of twenty four inch water main along Dale Earnhardt Boulevard between Vance and Chestnut Street and approximately 720 linear feet of sixteen inch water main along West “A” and Oak Avenue the city will abandon the existing lines (NCRC Recommended TIF Bond Structure and Project List 9) (See Appendix D and E). With the completion of these water mains, the city will be one step closer to being able to pass the fire code inspections. To prepare for the expected growth at the NCRC, the city of Kannapolis is replacing a thirty inch water main, which traverses through the campus where future development of buildings will occur. This water main could also fail causing major structural damage to the surrounding buildings. The city will replace this water main with a new water main on eighth street, West “A”, and Loop Road (NCRC Self Financing Bonds (“TIFs”) 9) (See Appendix D and E). This water main is expected to be able to keep up with future water demand within Kannapolis. While this is only a handful of projects that the city is working on to prepare Kannapolis for the
  7. 7. Atkinson 7 expected growth from the NCRC, it does include the many other areas the city expects to also experience growth as Kannapolis continues to experience change as it heads into a new twenty first century world! When someone reflects about the future of Kannapolis, one must remember the past and ask oneself, can the North Carolina Research Campus experience the same fate as the Fieldcrest Cannon Mills? Most people will say “no” due to the following reasons: the Universities of North Carolina's presence and the uniqueness of the research being conducted in the M.U.R.D.O.C.K. study. To preserve the North Carolina Research Campus and Kannapolis for the future, Mr. Murdock has brought together the University of North Carolina system and Duke University to make sure scientific research will allow for the NCRC to continue staying active for the future. With the M.U.R.D.O.C.K. study's work in personalized medicine allowing the NCRC to further its research in genetic information that is unique to one's self. This can provide a more accurate finding about someone that could never be done before. Unlike ordinary doctors which use trial and error methods to cure and treat patients, the M.U.R.D.O.C.K. study will conduct genetic research on its patients to find out which drugs will and will not work for them. This new personalized medicine will reduce the risk of side affects from drugs and allow for shorter healing times. To fully understand how the NCRC will be preserved for the future, one must look at the Research Triangle Park. The RTP, which has been around since 1959, has prospered as the NCRC is expected to (Link, “From Seed to Harvest” 3). The NCRC and the RTP both have three common characteristics that will allow them to still exist into the future: dedicated people, outstanding universities, and a world-class research institute. The dedication of the citizens of North Carolina have and will continue to assist the RTP in preserving it for the future through fund-raising and leadership. Mr. Archibald Davis, the primary fund-raiser and leader of the park in the early years, is confident “the love of the state was the
  8. 8. Atkinson 8 motivation for the Research Triangle idea” (Link, “A Generosity of Spirit” 9). The dedication of the citizens of North Carolina today will help to also preserve the NCRC for the future. Without the dedication of the citizens of North Carolina, Mr. Murdock would not have felt supported in his desire for the NCRC. This lack of desire could have resulted in Mr. Murdock taking his vision some place else. Since money is not everything it also takes the dedication of the community to keep someone interested in developing a place. One may ask, how can a university system preserve a research campus while an incorporated company cannot? The key to answering this question is to understand how often universities become bankrupt. The answer is almost never. Now, how often does an incorporated company fall to the conditions of the economy? One prime example of this becoming true would be the buyout of Wachovia in September of 2008. Fortunately for universities, they are also extremely well funded by the government and the private sector so it is difficult for them to go under. Through the outstanding university system of North Carolina, the state has had the unique opportunity to see the university system come together to preserve two research campuses. The President of the UNC System, Erskine B. Bowles, stated at the opening ceremonies of the NCRC: I’m immensely proud that researchers and graduate students from seven UNC campuses are actively involved at the NC Research Campus, but what really energizes and excites me is all the cutting-edge research and life-altering discoveries that will happen within these world-class laboratories and facilities. With education, government, and the private sector working together in partnership, this Research Campus has enormous potential to create new jobs and spur economic development in our state. (“Campus Celebrates Milestone” 1-2) While one cannot fully see the full potential of what accomplishments the Universities of North Carolina may bring to the NCRC today, one can see evidence of this occurring at the RTP with having three superb universities supporting it in its research findings.
  9. 9. Atkinson 9 The last and final strength of both the RTP and the NCRC are their pursuit in a world-class research institute. While the core lab at the NCRC has not yet been opened, it has already earned world wide recognition as the latest in biotechnological research. The RTP has also already achieved this status but unlike the NCRC, it has proven this status throughout the world as it continues to achieve new heights in medical research. With the presence of the universities at both research campuses, they both have been able to utilize the expertise the universities offer in medical research to advance and continue world-class research. While there is no absolute truth or proof for whether the North Carolina Research Campus will be preserved for the future, one should be able to notice the similarities between the Research Triangle Park and the North Carolina Research Campus. During the past century, Kannapolis, North Carolina has seen remarkable changes, as it moved from a farming community in the late 1800s and early 1900s, to a textile giant that lasted until it went bankrupt in 2003, to its future in biotechnology with the creation of the North Carolina Research Campus. While the city has never had the opportunity to experience change at such a level as what it is experiencing with the NCRC, due to it being incorporated in 1984, it looks forward to adapting as new challenges arise. With change comes challenges and the city is preparing for these changes with the creation of Tax Increment Financing projects to combat some of these challenges it is and will face as it heads into a new twenty first century world!
  10. 10. Atkinson 10 Works Cited Arthur-Cornett, Helen. Remembering Kannapolis : Tales from Towel City. New York: History P, The, 2007. Brown, Patrick F. North Carolina's Newest Economic Development Tool-Tax Increment Financing. Issue briefNo. NPCHLT1:123703.1-CA-(PFB) 900000-00183. Charlotte, NC: Law firm of Nexsen Pruet Adams Kleemeier, PLLC, 2004. 1-3. Gross, Michael. "From Textiles to Technology." The Charlotte Observer. 23 Apr. 2008: 36-38. Kearns, Paul R. Weavers of Dreams. Barium Springs, NC: Mullein P, 1995. Legg, Mike. North Carolina Research Campus Recommended TIF Bond Structure and Recommended TIF Project List. Kannapolis City Manager's Office. Kannapolis, NC: City of Kannapolis, 2007. Legg, Mike. North Carolina Research Campus Self Financing Bonds ("TIFs"). Kannapolis City Manager's Office. Kannapolis, NC: City of Kannapolis, 2007. Link, Albert N. A Generosity of Spirit : The Early History of the Research Triangle Park. Detroit: Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, 1995. Link, Albert N. From Seed to Harvest : The Growth of the Research Triangle Park. Detroit: Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, 2002. Misenheimer, Bob. “Tax Increment Financing and the N. C. Research Campus.” Letter to the Cabarrus County Commissioners. Date Unknown. Kannapolis, NC. North Carolina Economic Development Association. Frequently Asked Questions about Self-Financing Bonds. City of Kannapolis, Year Unknown. North Carolina Research Campus. "CAMPUS CELEBRATES HISTORIC MILESTONE." Press release. 20 Oct. 2008. 5 Nov. 2008 <http://www.ncresearchcampus.net/media- center/documents/october202008ncrcdedicationandopenhouse.pdf>.
  11. 11. Atkinson 11 Appendix A http://www.firstbaptistkannapolis.com/firstbaptistkann/research_campus_update Fieldcrest Cannon Plant 1 Appendix B http://cannonvillage.com/cms/index.php?/ncrc.html NCRC Mr. David H. Murdock Core Labatory
  12. 12. Atkinson 12 Appendix C http://www.northcarolina.edu/docs/images/pa/Kannapolis/9-7-05%20Perspective%208x11_Page_1.jpg Perspective Drawing of Central Campus at the NCRC
  13. 13. Atkinson 13 Appendix D City of Kannapolis TIF Project List
  14. 14. Atkinson 14 Changes the City of Kannapolis is Using to Prepare for the NCRC's Expected Growth Appendix E City of Kannapolis TIF Project Book The On-Campus Map of Expected TIF Projects Appendix F City of Kannapolis TIF Project Book Off-Campus Map of Expected TIF Projects

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