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Store owners hope Hillsborough Street revitalization has begun

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RALEIGH, N.C. — It was a groundbreaking for the new Central YMCA in Raleigh on Tuesday. But there is perhaps greater meaning under the surface. Some see the project as the long awaited first step in revitalizing Hillsborough Street.

More than 20,000 cars a day travel the thoroughfare, and more than 30,000 students go to NC State. But staring out on all that energy are pockets of empty buildings.

Val Valentine owns property on Hillsborough, including University Towers. He says the street needs an infusion of money, like the funds spent on Glenwood South.

"We're like a red-headed stepchild," said Valentine.

But this week, the city did approve $5 million for street improvements on Hillsborough. That includes building three roundabouts.

"Slowing down the traffic is a good idea, I think," said student bookstore owner Rodger Berg. "You know, a 25 mph speed limit sign might have worked as well."

Berg said he's worked at four major universities

"I have to say it's the most boring of any of the ones I have worked at," he said.

Hillsborough Street is more than 200 years old, built as a thoroughfare from the Capitol. And some dream of seeing it as a signature area of the city. But for now, critics say there is no signature, just paper.

Those closely following Hillsborough Street improvements say about 10 new businesses have opened on the street in the past year and a half. But by the same token, about six or eight businesses have also closed on Hillsborough during that same time frame.


Scott Mason, Reporter
Dana Franks, Web Editor

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