Local News

City Leaders Unveil Plan To Revitalize Southeast Raleigh

Posted August 1, 2006 4:26 a.m. EDT

— City leaders unveiled a new plan Monday night to help breathe new life into a Raleigh community that some say has been left out of the city's building boom.

Recommendations from the six-month study include branding Southeast Raleigh as a sustainable community, developing an image-marketing campaign, highlighting diversity, investing in training for local nonprofit and religious leaders and teaching economic development strategies.

"Business has not been the best that I feel it could be," said Tony Star, who owns a music store in Southeast Raleigh.

Star is one of only two tenants in a local strip mall. The others have gone out of business.

"If you look at the parking lot, (you) know we've been struggling," said Gladys Bonsu, the only other tenant in the strip mall.

Four years ago, Bonsu opened the city's only African fabric shop and learned quickly that operating a business in Southeast Raleigh is as complex as the detailed fabrics she sells.

"I think that Southeast Raleigh is just as important as downtown," Star said.

Dr. James Johnson, who specializes in making urban areas more competitive, agrees. He was hired to develop a plan to turn Southeast Raleigh around and says the community needs to work together to highlight its strengths and work on its weaknesses.

Bonsu just hopes the plan will works.

"We might go out of business if it doesn't improve," she said.