City leaders want $450,000 plan to cover broad area

Jan. 01, 2013 @ 07:42 PM

 If The City Project hires a Miami-based architectural firm to redesign High Point’s core, the initiative should look beyond just certain parts of town.
That’s the opinion of city leaders on the proposed Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. master plan that will focus on Uptowne, downtown/the High Point Market showroom district and the High Point University area.
City Project representatives are trying to raise $450,000 to hire the firm to come to High Point next spring for a series of workshops to develop a plan, which proponents hope will spark redevelopment in these areas.
City leaders want their work to tie in with ongoing efforts in other districts, such as Washington Street and Southside.
“I think it’s critical that as we move through this process, we make sure we’re creating a seamless transition from one area to the next,” said Mayor Bernita Sims. “My only concern would be that it doesn’t become this stark transition from one area of our community to another.”
Sims and others point to accomplishments in Washington Street, which include about $600,000 in private investment that has been attracted for various revitalization projects. The district has a master plan that’s in the process of being implemented.
The portion of S. Main Street near Guilford Technical Community College’s High Point campus — dubbed the SoSi District — has also seen progress. The goal will be to integrate the Duany project with plans in the other neighborhoods, opening the process for local residents to brainstorm ideas with outside experts.
“Our process is all about engaging the local community. Part of our process is building on all the accomplishments and successes that have happened so far,” said architect Tom Low, the director of the Charlotte office of Duany’s firm. “Great things are happening in Washington Street and we just want to see how we can improve it.”
City Councilman Jason Ewing said he would like to see the plans tackle the issue of how to make N. Centennial Street a more “attractive gateway” for the heavily residential areas of north High Point into the city’s core.
“I think everything that’s being planned is great, but it can’t all be fully successful without buy-in from north High Point. You have to be able to attract those people down here,” Ewing said.
City leaders said they hope the Duany study and other projects will lead to the development of a strategic plan that ties the whole city together.
“We’ve got a lot of moving parts going on right now in the city with the things that we’re trying to do,” said Sims. “I am hopeful that, once the study’s done, as a council and as a city, we can look at this and develop a strategic plan that says, for the next 20 years, this is how we intend to grow as a city.”
pkimbrough@hpe.com | 888-3531