Local News

Raleigh Wide Open Takes Over Downtown

Posted July 21, 2007 6:46 p.m. EDT
Updated July 22, 2007 5:54 a.m. EDT

— Raleigh Wide Open took over the streets of downtown Saturday.

The event launched last year as a way to celebrate the opening of Fayetteville Street. This year, there are other new projects on the horizon.

While the music, food and games seemed to be the draw for the thousands who packed downtown Saturday, most people realized it was a party with a purpose. The celebration is all about downtown Raleigh and how far it has come.

“Before, we didn’t come down too much. [There] really wasn’t too much to do,” said Regina Watson. “[There weren’t] too many places to go. But the way they’re doing it now, revitalizing it, I think it’s going to be good.”

One of the most anticipated new additions is the Raleigh Convention Center. Project managers said it's 65 percent complete and should be open for business by September of next year.

“It’s doing very well,” said Mayor Charles Meeker. “It’s a huge building that’s going to be really wonderful when it’s finished next year. It’s going to be a real attraction to our city.”

Meeker will see the city through the next phase of revitalization. No one is running against him this fall for his seat. Filing for the upcoming election period ended Friday. This will be his fourth term in office.

The mayor said he has mixed emotions about running unopposed.

“As a citizen, you know, I think you would like to see choices,” he said. “As a voter, I’d like to see that. But as a candidate, it’s much easier to not have to worry what’s going to happen.”