Raleigh, N.C. — Merchants along Hillsborough Street are using a new business improvement district as a launch pad for ideas they think would make the area better.
"My belief is that Hillsborough Street is potentially the best street in North Carolina," said Alan Lovette, who owns Melvin's, a burger joint.
The merchants have assembled a wish list for the area from St. Mary's Street near downtown to Meredith College near the Interstate 440 Beltline.
"The most important thing is parking," Lovette said.
Another item on the list is a 100-foot buffer around the North Carolina State University campus to keep beggars away.
"(We want) to get rid of panhandling. It will create a safer environment for students and our customers," Lovette said.
The group also wants to bring concerts to the university and to create a huge sign to let people know about events.
"(We need to) show people what's here and why they need to come back," said Jenn Halweil, an N.C. State student who is heading Hillsborough Street Renaissance, a green arts and music festival proposed for next spring.
"The street just doesn't have the feel like it's lively," Halweil said.
The City Council still needs to approve plans to close several blocks of Hillsborough Street for the festival, which organizers said would build ties between students, families and professionals in the area.
"This is going to be the place you want to go to interact with your peers and others," N.C. State student William McGuire said.
The merchants' wish list also includes:
- Decisions on where parking meters will be located along Hillsborough Street and rules for enforcement
- A designated valet-parking station
- A sign directing drivers from Cameron Village to Hillsborough Street
- A kiosk for announcing neighborhood events