Conover's city leader joined other mayors in the greater piedmont region to discuss issues facing their constituents with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.
Mayor Lee Moritz Jr. traveled Wednesday to Davidson College's Lily Gallery for dialogue about economic challenges, as well as transportation and crime issues within the state.
"Any time you have an opportunity to gather a group with similar objectives, it is beneficial," Moritz said. "Yes, each city has specific goals for the city we serve. However, being joined together on regional issues can only benefit all municipalities. Our regions in the United States have been successful with this strategy, and the purpose last night was to gauge interest if this is something we felt could benefit the piedmont."
Mayors from 17 cities were represented at the event, including the municipalities of Mount Holly, Cornelius, Concord, Waxhaw, Troutman, Statesville, Salisbury, Gastonia and Lincolnton, to name a few. Moritz was the only representative from Catawba County.
Several years ago, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce visited Chicago. Foxx said the visit was beneficial, and it spurred him to create the mayorial event.
"I took one valuable lesson from the trip: the critical importance of convening mayors within an urbanizing region for regular dialogue," Foxx wrote in an invitation to Wednesday's event. "We live in a region that is rapidly growing, as illustrated by recent U.S. Census figures.
We face mobility, environmental, economic and other challenges — and opportunities."
Moritz said he discussed several different matters with area mayors,
including the completion of N.C. 16 from Conover to Charlotte.
"I really feel like (finishing N.C. 16) will help our growth and fill up our hotel rooms in Conover," Moritz said.
Moritz also discussed Catawba County's recent gang call-in for the Catawba County Gang Initiative. Moritz took part in the county's first call-in, where officials speak with known gang offenders about their options beyond gang activity.
"I saw how effective it was," Moritz said. "(The mayors) seemed interested in the results."
Moritz ultimately deemed the night a success and looks forward to similar events in the future.
"Our takeaways were we all agree it is a benefit for our sister city officials to meet together," Moritz said. "We must acknowledge a regional effort is a benefit, and supporting each other only strengthens the whole (area)."