Each year we are asked to provide a progress update to Belmont’s City Council. This year, we had a lot to report on. Check out this exert from what we reported at the July 10 City Council meeting.

Over the past year, we have made significant strides in advancing our mission to preserve the past by restoring trolley service and operating a museum in Belmont, while inspiring the future through emerging technologies, connecting communities, and serving as a catalyst for economic growth. The following highlights outline our accomplishments.

      1. Hired Director: As the organization has grown, so has the workload. It is for this reason that In July of 2022 Belmont Trolley hired a Director of Project Advancement. Her name is Katy Rust, and she is a Belmont resident where she resides with her husband and two children. This hire was made possible by a donation from a local resident to cover the costs for the first year. Katy has had a tremendous impact on Belmont Trolley.
      2. Collaboration with The William States Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte: Belmont Trolley successfully organized a collaborative event with the College in October of 2022, which saw an impressive attendance of more than 175 individuals. Attendees toured our three historic trolley cars and viewed a working demonstration of our state-of-the-art power cart system.
      3. New faces on the Board of Directors: We are excited to announce the addition of two new Board Members to our team—Barak West and John Pilkington. Their diverse expertise and valuable insights will contribute to the continued growth and success of Belmont Trolley. We believe their involvement will benefit our organization greatly. You can find our full board here.
      4. Funding request to the State: Belmont Trolley submitted a funding request of $3.5 million to the State of NC, aiming to secure additional financial resources for the construction of the Belmont Trolley Station in downtown Belmont. We are optimistic about the outcome and remain committed to exploring all potential avenues to secure funding for our initiative.
      5. Trolley Station redesign: Our Board, along with Helt Design, have found a solution to the challenge of routing the rail line into the Trolley Station, allowing for the storage of our three historic trolley cars and power cart. With this solution, we also improved the design of the facility—making the space more flexible for community events and STEM programming. Check out the renderings of the redesigned Station here.
      6. Generous gift from local private charitable foundation: Belmont Trolley received a generous give of $205,361.96 from a local private charitable foundation. We are deeply grateful for their support, which puts us one step closer to putting our historic trolley cars on the tracks.
      7. Implemented a CRM: Belmont Trolley has implemented a CRM called eTapestry to streamline donor management, improve fundraising efficiency and enhance constituent relationship management, which will allow us to better achieve our mission and goals.
      8. Enhanced financial oversight: To ensure sound fiscal management, we have engaged a reputable third-party accounting firm—Foard and Company, PA—who specializes in nonprofit organizations. Their expertise will help us maintain transparent and accurate financial records, reinforcing our commitment to fiscal responsibility and accountability.
      9. Featured in PBS specials: We are thrilled to report that Belmont Trolley was featured in two special segments on WTVI’s PBS Charlotte in March and April. This recognition has brought increased visibility to our organization and has helped us reach a wider audience, further solidifying our reputation as a valuable community asset. Check out those specials here.
      10. Fleet improvements: Belmont Trolley has also made strides in enhancing our fleet. Through ongoing investments, we have made needed updates to the trolley cars to prepare for providing a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience for all passengers. Learn more about our trolley cars here.
      11. Power cart completion: Belmont Trolley and UNC Charlotte’s College of Engineering have teamed up over the last two years to design and construct a power cart, which will supply electricity to the trolley cars. Beyond being one of a kind, its batteries are wirelessly charged making it cutting-edge technology. This year, the cart was completed and showcased, not only at Belmont Trolley events, but at UNC Charlotte where engineers from around the world saw it in action. Check out our power cart here.
      12. Collaboration with rail engineering firm and NCDOT: Belmont Trolley has engaged a reputable rail engineering firm to assist with track alignment at the Trolley Station and have progressed in our collaboration with the NCDOT Rail and Highway divisions in the design of the tracks and stops along the line.
      13. New website: Belmont Trolley launched a new website to enhance our online presence, improve communication with stakeholders and facilitate more effective fundraising and outreach efforts.

    We are very proud of these achievements, and feel they strongly demonstrated our continued commitment to the development and success of Belmont Trolley. Thank you to everyone who continues to support our organization.