Charlotte USA Cities Invest in Their Historic Downtowns
The 16-county Charlotte USA region is a major metropolitan area that has attracted Fortune 500 companies and global business, and offers a wealth of culture, arts, recreation and entertainment opportunities.
It also has an array of lifestyle choices, from the trendy condos of Uptown and vibrant in-city neighborhoods to suburban bedroom communities.
Beyond the bright lights of the big city, several of the region's smaller communities have invested in their historic downtowns, creating opportunities for unique retail, restaurant, office and even living options in revitalized town centers.
Statesville in Iredell County, N.C., is in the midst of a $5.5 million, multiphase streetscape project downtown, including a major overhaul to sidewalks, streets and infrastructure to enhance the pedestrian experience.
“The district is being upgraded with wider sidewalks, shorter crossing distances, expanded planted areas, new surface accents of brick and stone, new lighting, outdoor seating areas and plazas,” says Marin Tomlin, executive director of the Downtown Statesville Development Corp.
Tomlin says the overall historic charm and unique shops of downtown Statesville have also been enhanced by a recently completed $2.2 million renovation of City Hall.
“The building is a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture, and people can visit and tour the building,” she says. “There are several other attractions downtown, including art galleries, two farmer’s markets and a summer concert series. Plus, we have local restaurants with everything from fine dining to sandwich shops, bakeries and coffee shops.”
Monroe and Rock Hill
Another downtown in the process of major revitalization is Monroe in Union County, N.C., with a four-point plan involving design, organization, promotion and economic restructuring. City officials point out that the district is already one of the biggest employers in Monroe, and a revamping project will make it that much more appealing.
The downtown district of Rock Hill, S.C., is called Old Town, and has embarked upon an Only in Old Town branding campaign. Multiple downtown events during 2012 include concerts at Old Town Amphitheater, with performers such as 38 Special and Delbert McClinton.
175 Jobs in Mooresville
Over the last three years, downtown Mooresville, N.C., has seen an infusion of $4 million in private investment for building renovations.
“There have been 175 new jobs created downtown during that time,” says Kim Atkins, executive director of the Mooresville Downtown Commission. “Some downtowns around the country are boarded up, but Mooresville's remains vibrant.”
Atkins says many free events are staged in the district, and the downtown has become part of the North Carolina Main Street Program.
“In addition, Mitchell Community College has a campus center here in the district, and MCC recently completed a $7 million renovation with plans to attract more concerts and activities,” she says. “The district also continues to welcome new restaurants, which always boosts foot traffic. Downtown Mooresville is becoming dynamic again.”