CORNELIUS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Residents in a Cornelius neighborhood are organizing to save their community.

Some homeowners in Smithville are concerned a revitalization plan will push some residents out.

Gladys Henderson has lived in her Smithville home for decades, and now it needs critical repairs.

“It needs roofing all this stuff on my house and the bathroom,” Henderson said. “I’ve paid over $1,000 trying to get the bathroom fixed.”

Many houses in the neighborhood need repairs. Some homes have lead pipes. There are cracks in the roads and streets. The Smithville Community Coalition has a plan to help solve the issues with a revitalization plan.

Smithville Community Coalition has already secured over $7 million in funding, but some residents are concerned the plan could price out current homeowners.

“You ask questions, but we don’t get answers; they can only get back to you later, and they don’t get back with you later,” Henderson said.

Cornelius Town Board approved the plan in June of 2022, and residents say there hasn’t been much action since.

“What’s holding the process up for us actually seeing that,” resident Larry Cunningham asked. “We haven’t seen anything; all we do is hear.”

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More than 30 addresses are listed on a petition outlining concerns from residents calling it a ‘glorified gentrification plan.’ The group wants to create a coalition of residents.

Queen City News took the document to Willie Jones, CEO of Smithville Community Coalition.

“There is a period where people get comfortable that it’s going to happen, and this is the impact on me,” Jones said. “But until you get to that period, there’s so many rumors floating around that it’s confusing to people.”

He says many moving parts open the door to confusion. Jones says they are working on a timeline to distribute to residents.

“We are trying to bring a higher degree of certainty and finality to the things that will affect the existing residents,” Jones said.

Henderson hopes SCC will make more of an effort to address concerns from residents.

“Since it’s supposed to be a community thing, I think everybody should have a say so,” Henderson said.

The coalition meets once a month publicly. Jones invites anyone with concerns to host a meeting and invite him. He says he hopes permitting and zoning process for some plans will be complete by the summer. If that happens, he expects some construction will start before the end of the year.

The deadline to spend the funding he has already secured is 2026.