Mecklenburg County leaders review plans to update Historic Latta Plantation

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 10:54 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Mecklenburg County Commissioners met Tuesday night in part to discuss what to do with the embattled Latta Plantation.

Earlier this year, concerns were raised after an Antebellum era event was planned at the plantation on Juneteenth, a day celebrated for the end of slavery. That raised anger in the community, and the ire of commissioners.

Everything from new buildings to new roads to new tech, the county is looking to make a strong capital investment at the Plantation.

This is a plantation that had a rough start to the year.

“Who put this out? This is unbelievable.”

That was the reaction from County Commissioner Vilma Leake when we first showed her the plans for a questionable event happening at Latta Plantation.

“Any of this looking at it is irritating,” Leake said.

A planned event earlier this year at the plantation would have had visitors interact with mock slave owners and Confederate soldiers during what was referred to as “kingdom coming”. The date of the event coincided with the Juneteenth celebrations. A day reserved to commemorate the abolition of slavery.

“This is terrible. This is unacceptable in Mecklenburg County,” Leake scoffed.

The event was quickly scrapped and the relationship between the county and organizers dissolved. So a new plan had to be hashed out on what to do with the 16-acre plantation.

“It gives us another opportunity to take a look and get what we want.” County Commissioner George Dunlap said.

The County Commission heard ideas and pitches Tuesday night on ways to get past what happened and freshen up the property so visitors who come here can enjoy it.

“The site has an annual visitation rate of about 40,000 individuals,” said Lee Jones, director of Parks and Rec.

But as with anything, with improvements come the bills. And a hefty price tag for everything involved.

“Those capital improvements total around $312,000,” according to Jones.

Some of the plans on the table include beefing up security systems, building repairs, fencing and landscaping along with a whole host of other options.

“With the support of the county manager’s office, we’re well on our way,” Jones said.

If everything’s approved, the improvements could start up early next year.

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