Happy Friday everyone!
To all those who were able to make it out to the Charlotte Rail Trail unveiling this past Wednesday (January 27), Thank You! You guys probably already know who the Charlotte Center City Partners are. But for those that don’t know, or if you just want a little more of a deep dive, keep reading. We’ve got you covered!
Charlotte Center City Partners believes that historic preservation stimulates and is compatible with economic development. The two can, with a little imagination and creativity, enhance one another.
Caption: The McColl Center for Visual Art
Compelling examples of the adaptive reuse of structural treasures that have recently catalyzed economic development in uptown include: the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, which occupies what once was an upscale women’s clothing store; and, the McColl Center for Visual Art, housed in what not long ago was an abandoned, fire-scarred church building (the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, built in 1926).
Caption: Charlotte area transit system trolley
Perhaps the most dramatic example of this trend is the Partners’ spearheading the vision for extending the vintage trolley line into the Center City. The promise of bringing the trolley back to uptown was a tremendous generator of economic development, even before the first track was laid.
The group’s conviction stems from several articles of faith. For starters, Center City Partners believes that cities – vibrant cities, exciting cities – are made up of character, and that a critical component of a city’s unique character is an understanding that it’s the small things that count. Building on that philosophy, Center City Partners advocates initiatives that add character, champions preserving things that have indigenous value, while facilitating public and private development in Charlotte’s Center City.
Center City Partners never tired of asking the question, “What’s missing here?” Then – having come up with an answer – the organization works hard to fill in the blank. That’s how a vendor has come to sell fresh-cut flowers from a cart at the corner of Trade and Tryon Streets, the City’s historic center. That’s also how pizza-by-the-slice came to be available in the Center City, and a farmer’s market came to be a weekend fixture during the market season. Its how the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony came to be a major event. In a nutshell, the Partners have a hand in all of the major developments in Center City, from the Lynx Blue Line Extension, BB&T Ballpark, the forthcoming revitalization of North Tryon and future insertion of Charlotte Gateway Station, a transportation hub that will include a new Amtrak train station and will accommodate transfers from commuter rail, regional express buses, Greyhound long-distance buses, and transfers from the future Charlotte streetcar line. Read more about these individual initiatives here. Romare Bearden Park? Yep. 7th Street Public Market and First Ward Park. You betcha.
Caption: Romare Bearden Park
Caption: 7th Street Public Market
But who are the Partners exactly? Business leaders, Center City residents and city government formed the organization in 1979. It is funded by a municipal service assessment (i.e. a tax or fee) self-imposed by Center City property owners. Oversight is provided by City Council and a separate board of directors comprised of representatives from Center City neighborhoods, businesses, government, hospitality, arts and cultural organizations. Per their website, today’s organization has a staff of 22, which is pretty remarkable considering their reach and impact.
Not a deep enough dive for you? Still want to splash around some more? Head on over to their website at charlottecentercity.org! Happy wading!
Until next week!
Email me at chris@704Shop.com if you have interesting Charlotte facts you’d like to share or just to provide feedback!