Mooresville, North Carolina

Known for its abundance of racing shops, Mooresville’s nickname is “Race City USA.” The town is named after John Franklin Moore, who brought the Atlantic, Tennessee and Ohio Railroad to the area by promising to build a depot with a sidetrack for cotton shipments. This railroad made Mooresville a textile center and helped to facilitate its growth. With just over 20,000 residents, Mooresville is the sixth-fastest-growing municipality in North Carolina.

In the past five years, new economic investment in the town has brought $500 million and 3,000 jobs to the area. Mooresville’s strong economic base includes Lake Norman Regional Medical Center and numerous racing shops. Additionally, the homeimprovement giant Lowe’s Corp. recently moved its headquarters to Mooresville.

Its historic downtown features many 19th century brick buildings on Main and Broad streets that sell antiques, jewelry and other specialties. DeLuxe Ice Cream Co. on Broad Street began selling ice cream in 1924 and sells to local grocery stores and eateries. On Main Street, Landmark Galleries displays the original watercolors of local artist Cotton Ketchie. Also downtown, the Mooresville Depot Visual Arts Center houses the Mooresville Artists Guild and shows artwork by local and visiting artists.

Mooresville is undergoing improvements to sidewalks, traffic signals and landscaping on Main Street. The Charlotte Area Transportation System (CATS) recently added Mooresville Express routes for commuters traveling into Uptown Charlotte.

Developed by Crescent Resources, The Point covers 1,200 acres on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Norman. With 18 miles of shoreline, The Point is one of the premier lake communities, with homes ranging from the $500s to more than $5 million. The country club community surrounds an 18-hole golf course, designed by Greg Norman, which features 13 holes along the water. A Nantucket-style village with cobblestone streets, The Point provides residents with three swimming pools, golf and wakeboarding clinics, six tennis courts, a tavern, a general store where you can buy everything from a loaf of bread to homemade ice cream, a village green with soccer fields and a meeting house. Following The Point, a number of developments have sprung up off of N.C. 150 west of I-77 in Mooresville. Characterized by broad, tree-lined boulevards, Morrison Plantation also will include a shopping center with specialty and clothing shops, a beauty salon, dry cleaner, restaurant, coffee shop and banks.

Cherry Grove is a new development that offers single-family homes with large floor plans surrounded by hardwood trees. The community includes a pool, tennis courts, nature trails and a playground.

Water Oak offers homes from the $130s to $300,000 with 1,260 to more than 3,000 square feet. The development includes 15 acres of natural greenways and common areas as well as an open-air pavilion, pool and playground.

Residential development has bolstered area businesses. A new facility for Lake Norman Regional Medical Center opened in 1999. The 117-bed hospital provides an emergency department, maternity center and surgical center.

Lowe’s corporate headquarters currently houses about 2,000 employees. Eventually, Lowe’s headquarters will cover more than 2 million square feet and employ 8,000 workers. Several mixed-use developments have popped up nearby in anticipation.

Legacy Village, a 450,000-square-foot development near Lowe’s, is an urban center along the proposed transit route that includes 100 upscale town homes as well as retail. Mooresville Gateway, a 50-acre development of offices and retail, includes banking, restaurants and shops.

Another development, Catalina Bay hopes to attract NASCAR businesses, Lowe’s vendors and medical tenants, and also includes plans for a 12-story, 250-room Marriott Hotel.

Serving many of the new developments west of I-77 in Mooresville is Winslow Bay Commons, a 255,000-square-foot shopping center at N.C. 150 and Bluefield Road. The center includes TJ Maxx, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Pier 1, Linens ‘N Things and Caribou Coffee.

Mooresville is home to more than 60 racing teams. Dale Earnhardt Inc., headquartered in Mooresville, employs about 200 people and owns the racing teams of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Waltrip and Jeff Green. The site offers a tribute to the late Dale Earnhardt, museum, souvenir shop and viewing window.

The North Carolina Racing Hall of Fame features more than 35 race cars, showcases and a gift shop. On N.C. 150, Memory Lane Museum displays the history of racing and automobiles with more than 100 exhibits, including racing go-carts and more than 15 types of race cars. Located in Lake Norman Business Park, 5 Off 5 On is a training center to prepare pit crew mechanics for professional racing.

Mooresville offers plenty of outdoor opportunities for recreation.

Stumpy Creek Park offers 83 acres with soccer fields, ball fields, picnic shelters, a playground, walking track and nine-hole disc golf course. Adjacent to the park is Stumpy Creek Boat Landing, a public boat launch area. On Bellingham Road, Bellingham Park covers 47 acres and offers walking and biking trails, a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits and a playground. Just outside of downtown, Edgemoor Park provides tennis courts, baseball fields, a playground and picnic area.

The Iredell County Outdoor Education Center provides high- and low-ropes courses as well as a 50-foot tower for climbing and rappelling. Located on 45 forested acres, the center also includes nature trails, campsites and a picnic pavilion with grills.

In nearby Troutman, Lake Norman State Park offers 1,600 acres of outdoor activities. With 13 miles of shoreline, the park also includes a brand-new beach — the only public swimming area on Lake Norman — staffed with lifeguards during the summer months. Near the beach, visitors can rent pedal boats and canoes or grab some snacks at the concession stand. Families also enjoy the community building for get-togethers. Lake Norman State Park features a 33-site campground and group camping site, hiking and mountain biking trails, educational and interpretive programs, and plenty of picnic areas.

Designed by Donald Ross and Porter Gibson, Mooresville Municipal Golf Course on West Wilson Avenue is a par-72 course with a driving range, snack bar, pro shop and conference room.

At Queen’s Landing, two paddle wheeler riverboat replicas — the Catawba Queen and Catawba Belle — are docked at an entertainment center that includes bumper boats, miniature golf, tennis courts, a floating dock bar and two restaurants.