HUNTERSVILLE – Improvements to the Gilead Road/U.S. 21 intersection and a new recreation center are two things Huntersville residents can look forward to in the coming years.

Prior to its April 16 meeting, the town board released its Capital Improvement Program for the 2013-14 fiscal year, with $5.5 million going to the Gilead Road/U.S. 21 intersection project and $4.2 million earmarked for a recreation center.

Other planned improvements for the fiscal year include $500,000 worth of interior expansion and renovations to Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics and the $400,000 reconstruction of the farmers market for better functionality and

The biggest talking point among the board remained the Gilead Road/U.S. 21 intersection upgrades, which would include extra turn and thru  lanes, medians and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

Money will come from three sources: $2.03 million from last year’s authorized bonds package, $970,000 from 2003 bonds and $2.5 million from the federal government.

Commissioner Ron Julian said road improvements are a major priority.

“The improvements should have been paid for by the (Department of Transportation), but they don’t have the money,” he said. “To keep traffic moving, (the intersection) has to be fixed. It’s needed infrastructure.”

Julian added the $2.5 million from the federal government ends in 2014. He pointed to the intersection’s propensity for crashes and traffic impediments as reasons to move forward with the upgrades.

Engineering and Public Works Director Max Buchanan said the board should decide the engineer for the intersection project in June. The engineering firm will then make suggestions to the board within 8-12 weeks.

Julian said construction could start in three to four months.

A multi-use recreation center is in the board’s sights after being a focal point of the February retreat. It would satisfy the Parks and Recreation 2020 Plan of having four indoor courts available to the public.

Other plans include $300,000 each in improvements to intersections at N.C. 73 and Babe Stillwell Farm Road, and at N.C. 73 and Terry Lane.

Adjustments to the Northcross Drive-N.C. 73 intersection could cost $150,000. q