Wednesday, Jan. 14 marked an unprecedented event in Charlotte’s downtown revitalization efforts. Members of the City of Charlotte’s Downtown Development Authority, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce board of directors and the Can Do! executive board met as one to discuss how each could play a role in revitalizing downtown Charlotte.
The meeting highlighted a number of opportunities and provided much enthusiasm to keep efforts moving forward. At the same time, it put a spotlight on some glaring needs if any real progress is going to be made.
First and foremost, this effort is going to need a lot of participation — and not just from the usual suspects. In order for a revitalization of any substance to take place, it’s going to take active participation from all corners of the community.
This is where the second issue comes into play — communication. The Downtown Revitalization Strategy has been discussed, in great length, in this publication as well as others in the area. Several presentations have been made to local service organizations and the information has been shared with several downtown business owners.
But, is that enough? Do people in our community really know what is taking place or how to get involved?
The plan needs to be shared with as many people as possible. There is much contained within to generate enthusiasm for what could be … if there is enough support.
Those who want to be involved are welcomed, and needed. The best place to start is by contacting Community Development Director Bryan Myrkle (517-543-8853 or Task forces assigned to many of the action items identified within the plan are currently being formed. Myrkle can help point you in the right direction.
Actions identified in the strategic plan include assembling a business recruiting team; bringing another anchor retail business downtown; working with the Michigan Department of Transportation on truck traffic issues downtown; building off the success of the DDA’s summer concert series with a winter concert series in a downtown location; beefing up local incentives and grant eligibility; blight improvements; and taking a closer look at becoming a Michigan Mainstreet community.
Improvements include improving signage within the community, specifically on Lansing Road to direct people downtown; enhancing the Farmer’s Market, which includes adding a weeknight market; continue to utilize the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority’s grant program to rehabilitate and establish downtown apartments; utilize Beach Market in new ways; create a Corridor Improvement District near the property that includes the two train depots located on Cochran Road, which includes Tequila’s Mexican Grill, Johnson’s Lumber, the former Dennis Distributing property and Citizens LLC.