Local News

Raleigh Recruits Partners To Help Downtown Revitalization Efforts

Posted March 16, 2004

— Downtown Raleigh could be hard to recognize in 10 years. Many changes are on the table with the goal of bringing more people to the heart of downtown.

With so many plans in the works, downtown Raleigh is checking its work and planning for the future with a fresh set of eyes.

Changes include a

new convention center

and hotel, the opening of

Fayetteville Street Mall

to traffic and a

commuter rail system

in the next few years.

"We've put some of the puzzle pieces in place, but we've got too many blank spaces between them and that's what we're trying to address," said Margaret Mullen of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

Raleigh is recruiting some help.

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who is credited with making his hometown of Portland a livable community, was in the Capital city to lend a hand Monday.

"Transportation should serve the needs of the community here," he said. "What do the people want? How do you have a vital downtown?"

His host, North Carolina Rep. Brad Miller, says the federal government can help pick up the tab.

"Transportation funding, transportation decisions, really shape how communities grow," Miller said.

Insight is not necessarily a plane ride away. Students at North Carolina State University's College of Design are using the southeast part of downtown as an urban lab, drawing up design plans for development.

Whether it is a congressman or a college project, Raleigh is making partnerships part of its plan.

"There is a lot to get done. It's going to require a lot of players at the table," Mullen said.

The College of Design and Raleigh have partnered for about a year.

As for federal funding, Congress and the White House are wrestling over a highway and transit bill that would range from $250 billion to $300 billion.

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