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Charlotte Center City Partners CEO and President Michael Smith

By Tonya Jameson

Neighborhoods surrounding uptown could get a boost if Charlotte leaders adopt the 2020 Vision Plan proposed by Charlotte Center City Partners at a city council meeting on Monday. The plan is a blueprint for the how the Center City should evolve during the next 10 years and beyond to make it a more livable and sustainable community.

As expected the plan targets the economy, cultural opportunities and transportation, but also enhances neighborhoods surrounding the Center City is also a key component in the plan.

“It was more than uptown,” said Charlotte Center City Partners CEO Michael Smith explaining the focus areases. “We need to improve connections to the neighborhoods.”

Smith said these surrounding neighborhoods should also experience the vibrancy occurring uptown. He also pointed out that not only should these neighborhoods be connected to uptown, but uptown should be connected to them.

That’s good to hear considering that neighborhoods such as Cherry, Optimist Park and Belmont haven’t experienced the prosperity sweeping through Southend, Plaza-Midwood, NoDa and Elizabeth. A notable aspect of the plan is the improvement or creation of neighborhood centers to enhance those communities and attract future residents.

The plan’s other strategies were:

Placemaking and Urban Design – Create active, memorable places and provide attractive, effeciant connections along transit, greenway trails and roadways.

Applied Innovation Corridor – Stretches from Southend to UNC Charlotte and includes major development and partnership opportunities in Northend. “This could be the 21st century middle class employment center,” Smith said.

Center City Urban Campus – Link educational institutions and create more partner programs with these institutions.

Destination Charlotte – Leverage and connect center city’s arts, cultural and entertainment facilities.

Neighborhoods of Center City – connect surrounding neighborhoods through strong transit, pedestrian, bicycle, greenway trail and roadway connections.

Network of Parks, Open space and Recreation – Strengthen pedestrian, bicycle and greenway connections. Create a “Ward Loop” and “Bouleard Loop” to link existing and future ward parks in uptown.

Dynamic Shopping Experience – Create attractive pedestrian streetscape, good design of ground-floor retail spaces with proximity to transit.

Integrated Transportation Network – Link roadways, greenway trails and transit throughout Center City.

CCCP presented the plan to city council on Monday. The council will make a final recommendation in September. If approved this plan will be implemented through a mix of private investment and collaboration with government and corporate entities over the next decade.

For more details about the 2020 Vision plan go to Charlotte Center City Partners.

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