No doubt Bill Russell and Karen Shore have “kicked the hornet’s nest” with the Great Lake identity project for Lake Norman, as recommended by the Urban Land Institute Report. One deliverable of a campaign of this sort is to generate conversation. That part of the mission – accomplished!

As I reflect over the past 25 years living in the Charlotte metro region, once there was angst among civic leadership that Charlotte was thought of as a “racin’” town. Finally, we weren’t going to avoid the obvious, so we embraced racing, as a high tech, job-producing growth industry. Now we brag about being the home of NASCAR. So, the suggested Great Lake campaign embraces the lake, and weaves in, rather pleasantly, a number of themes that further explain that we are, indeed, more than just a lake. But the lake is our common denominator and binds us on both sides of the mighty Catawba River.

I’d like to commend Bill, Karen and Ned Fleming for investing a great deal of time and energy in this undertaking, while receiving plenty of advice from well-intended folk. As I said to Bill today, any campaign of this nature will never create consensus, and should be a work in progress, as the presentation is made to numerous elected and volunteer boards over the next couple months. At some point, a sponsoring organization, such as the two chambers, will include as many suggestions and may approve an effort to better tell the story of our lake area. I’d say we’re off to a rousing start.

– Carroll Gray, executive director of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission and a former CEO of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce