City makes funding official for Duany project

Feb. 06, 2013 @ 05:07 PM

The city made its support official this week for a plan to enlist the services of a Miami architectural firm that will assist in advancing High Point’s revitalization efforts.
The City Council approved a budget ordinance amendment to appropriate funding for The City Project to hire Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. to provide a master plan and “urban design services” for three areas of the city — Uptowne, downtown/the High Point Market showroom district and the High Point University area.
City Project representatives hope architect Andres Duany and his firm will provide guidance about land use planning and other issues for these areas that will help attract new investment.
The City Project has raised more than $370,000 from private sources, and the city will contribute $50,000 to the cost of hiring Duany and his consultants.
“That was part of the challenge we made to them — if you go out and find the money, then we’ll come in and support you with some public support to get the project done, and I think they’ve done exactly what we’ve asked them to do,” said Mayor Bernita Sims.
Richard Wood, a City Project board member who led the fundraising, said more than 80 individuals and businesses contributed money. Donors include International Market Centers, the company that owns a majority of High Point’s furniture showroom space.
“IMC made a substantial commitment to us. They see it as behooving them to be invested in this. They have offered to put more money in, if necessary,” said Wood. “But they see what this can do for the market, for their client base, their customer base. All they’re looking for is a better town to bring this market to. They want to stay in the same town, they just want it to get better. They want to have more to do — more restaurants, more hotels — the things we’ve been talking about here for the 40 years that I’ve been involved with this community.”
The City Project is finalizing a contract with DPZ that calls for the firm to hold a series of public workshops called charettes in May 2013 that will be incorporated into the master plan.
The city is not a party to the contract, and any cost overruns would be up to The City Project to cover, according to City Manager Strib Boynton.
“So this is $420,000 for a week of work?” Councilwoman Becky Smothers asked City Project representatives during a discussion of the project Monday.
City Project Executive Director Wendy Fuscoe explained that the charettes last for a week, during which time citizen input will be gathered.
The firm will also do three months of data-collection and fact-finding in advance of this to develop a market retail analysis and a thoroughfare study of N. Main Street, Fuscoe said.