Need to KnowNews & Opinion

Need to Know: Latta Plantation, Traffic Violations and Cycling Groups

We made a request to our readers to ask us the questions about Charlotte that have been burning in their minds. Here are the results.

In our first iteration of Need to Know, we tackle reader questions on Latta Plantation, cleaning up your driving record and local bike groups.

Back in March, we made a call to our readers through social media and our email newsletter (sign up here), among other channels, asking what questions about the Queen City they were itching to find the answers to. We heard back from dozens of readers wondering about questions ranging from complex bureaucratic policy issues to the existential.

We’ve been finding answers to all of them over the last month, and today we’re releasing our first segment of Need to Know, with more answers on the way.


From Mike S.
Question: Hi! Do you know what’s going on with the historic site at Latta Plantation? Is it now permanently closed because the director did a dumb exhibition a few years ago?

Answer: Historic Latta Plantation went viral for all the wrong reasons in summer 2021 when folks began sharing the description of an event called Kingdom Coming, scheduled for the Huntersville venue during the Juneteenth weekend that year.

“Come out to Historic Latta Plantation for a one night event,” the description read. “You will hear stories from the massa himself. Federal troops (Yankees) have him on the run and his former bondsmen have occupied his home and are living high on the hog. Hear how they feel about being freedmen.” 

Historic buildings of Latta Plantation
Historic buildings of Latta Plantation. (Courtesy of Mecklenburg County)

It went on to promise that white refugees “have a story to tell as well,” and that Confederate soldiers would be expressing their feelings about the downfall of the Confederacy, seemingly centering everyone but enslaved people on a holiday meant to celebrate their emancipation.

The response was swift, quickly expanding past social media. Before the month was over, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) decided not to renew the lease for Historic Latta Place Inc., which for years ran the “living history museum” on the property of the circa-1800s plantation where owner James Latta once enslaved 34 men, women and children. 

Since then, Mecklenburg County Park & Rec has spearheaded an effort to reopen the site in a thoughtful way under the project title Historic Latta Reimagined. The BOCC approved capital funding for the project in 2023 and the county commenced the consultant/designer selection process that fall.

The county has led community outreach efforts including public and virtual meetings as well as an online survey to garner feedback from residents about what they would like to see included in the new vision for Latta’s reopening. The Head & Heart Survey remains open for public input until Friday, June 7.

A Mecklenburg County spokesperson told Queen City Nerve that the county aims to begin construction in early spring 2025. 

“The reopening timeline is dependent on the scope of the work,” the spokesperson said. “This scope is being finalized as the project consultant prepares a final concept, which will include site flow, visitor center design, etc.” 


From Regina J.
Question: If a community member has a driver’s license issue that possibly stems from an unresolved ticket(s) or traffic violation(s), is there a system or pathway in place to help them resolve that issue affordably and without further consequences? 

Perhaps there is a community organization or some type of resolution process to help people who can’t afford an attorney or high fees but who want to be able to drive with a clear record?

Answer: We reached out to the folks at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, an organization that provides pro bono legal services to people in the Charlotte area who need them. 

Attorneys with CCLA’s Consumer Empowerment Program drafted the following statement: “Everyone’s driver’s license situation is unique, but there is almost always a way back to gaining the ability to be a licensed driver in North Carolina. Driver’s license restoration is one of the biggest wealth barriers we see in North Carolina, and not being legally allowed to drive can create a hole that seems impossible to dig yourself out of, especially in rural areas where public transportation is lacking. It takes work, time, and money. 

“Handling unresolved traffic violations is usually the first step on the path to driver’s license restoration. These can sometimes be added back onto a court calendar, or a resolution can be negotiated with the District Attorney. When resolving traffic violations, they can have different license suspension consequences, DMV points, and insurance points, so it is important to be informed of possible solutions and consequences. Court dates at the courthouse or DMV need to be scheduled to resolve tickets, fines, or to comply with driving restrictions. There are motions that can be filed for qualifying individuals to waive court costs and fees. 

“Certain traffic offenses are also considered criminal charges and, after a period of time, may be eligible for record expungement. The intertwined system of the criminal courts and the DMV can be very complicated, and I would strongly suggest seeking an attorney who handles these matters to help navigate the system.

“Here at the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, we do assist qualifying individuals with driver’s license restoration in Mecklenburg County. Depending on where you have issues, there are other organizations in North Carolina that can also help, such as the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center, North Carolina Justice Center, and Legal Aid of North Carolina.” 


From Michael C.
Question: We just moved here from Pittsburgh in November and are loving our new life in Charlotte. In Pittsburgh, there is a nonprofit organization called Bike Pittsburgh that advocates for cycling in Pittsburgh and puts on events including a once a year event called Pedal Pittsburgh, which is a large organized ride. Is there an organization like that in Charlotte?

Answer: Absolutely! A great place to start would be with episode 83 of our Nooze Hounds podcast, in which Ryan Pitkin speaks to two leaders of our cycling community — Shannon Binns with Sustain Charlotte and Dianna Ward of Charlotte Joy Rides — about bicycling infrastructure in Charlotte, from grading the city on where it stands now to discussing what it can do better in terms of safety and connectivity.

Sustain Charlotte’s Biketoberfest. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

While Sustain Charlotte as an organization focuses on a number of different sustainability challenges faced by the city, they do a lot of advocacy work around cycling and cycling infrastructure. Each year, Sustain Charlotte hosts Biketoberfest, which encourages participants to bike, walk and use public transportation throughout the city to visit curated destinations while collecting stamps in an event passport. The day wraps up with an afterparty that includes prizes, live music, giveaways, and beverages. This year’s event, the organization’s 10th annual Biketoberfest celebration, is scheduled for Oct. 27. 

As for organized rides, Charlotte Critical Mass is a huge group of cyclists that gathers on the last Friday of each month at 6:45 p.m. at First Ward Park, rolling out at 7 p.m. regardless of weather. “There are no leaders, no routes or corporate sponsors … It’s just a fun, safe way to ride bikes together in the city,” reads the group’s Facebook description. Riders of all ages and on all styles of bikes are welcome. Lights and helmets are recommended.

The Charlotte Urbanists also host their Lazy Sunday Bike Road on the second and fourth Sunday of each month, including this Sunday, at 3 p.m.

And one last recommendation: If you’re looking for a great bike shop that offers not only top-tier bikes for sale but also maintenance, repairs and a great space to hang out and have a beer with fellow cycling enthusiasts, we suggest you visit The Spoke Easy in Elizabeth.

Have you got something you Need to Know about the Charlotte area? Send an email to info@qcnerve.com so we can add your answer into the queue!


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