August 19, 2022 7:00am

Summer Heat, Eastland Mall, Friendly (Or Not-So Friendly) Skies

Majority Of Power Poll Respondents Are Sweating Over Climate Change

Photo of Ken Garfield
Charlotte, NC Correspondent

We know it’s hot (more on that in a bit). But there are still questions to answer and issues to address. In that spirit, welcome to Power Poll for Charlotte, N.C., where movers and shakers can weigh in on the most vital (and occasionally) whimsical issues facing the community.

If you are done perspiring, do you think climate change is responsible for this especially hot summer in the Carolinas?

Clearly poll respondents believe in global warming. Just under 70 percent sided with the scientists who say climate change is a crisis we must address.

Other polls reflect the seriousness with which people are taking this: Rasmussen Reports found that 61 percent of Americans adults believe climate change is causing the world’s extreme weather, including heat waves and droughts. The American Psychological Association has defined a new disorder – eco-anxiety, or the chronic fear of environmental doom. One survey found that 68 percent of adults say they are experiencing “at least a little eco-anxiety.” The future demands action: The nonprofit Climate Central predict that U.S. cities could be an average of eight degrees hotter by 2100.

The City of Charlotte just broke ground on the old Eastland Mall site, hoping after many stops and starts to turn this wasteland into a vibrant area of shops, apartments, townhomes and more. Given that nothing is expected to be finished until 2024, are you optimistic that anything will actually be built there?

Charlotte is a city of optimists (which explains our growth and vitality), according to Power Poll. Just over 60 percent responded “Yes, I think this is finally the real deal.”

To review: The newly named Eastland Yards project in east Charlotte is slated to fill the 60-acre site with that familiar mix of homes, retail and business plus park projects. The first phase won’t open until at least 2024 – plenty of time for something to go wrong.

A quick review for newcomers: Eastland Mall opened in 1975 as the largest mall in North Carolina. The indoor skating rink in the middle of the mall was once a Carolinas landmark. But then growth moved from the east side to the south side. New malls like SouthPark became the hot spot. Eastland closed in 2010. The city bought it in 2012. It was demolished in 2013. Plans that never bore fruit over the years included a movie studio. David Tepper, owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and MSL’s Charlotte FC, announced plans at various times to build the soccer team headquarters there, then a youth soccer academy or soccer fields. Then he backed out.

Coming in a couple of years: Eastland Yards. Or so say a majority of Power Poll respondents.

Given the chaos of air travel caused by Mother Nature and lack of pilots – cancelations, delays and the like – are you as willing as before to book a flight?

Power Poll is more divided on this one, with barely a majority sticking to the air. Slightly more than 30 percent say they’ll drive or stay home. Maybe they’ll hold that family reunion on FaceTime.

One number will either make you put that suitcase back in the closet or, for the heartier souls, call Uber for the ride to the airport. Reuters reports that through July 31, flights canceled in the United States totaled 128,934.

Thanks for playing. See you in September. Remember, Power Poll isn’t meant to be scientific. Rather it opens a window onto what Charlotteans are thinking. The more of you who participate, the wider the window.

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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