Rail Trail Plan On Track


by Kirk Hawkins

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Firing up the Queen City with a taste of the Big Easy. Jeremy Ardrey is a regular at "Bite Your Tongue," a cajun restaurant in the South End. "I think for the most part, everything that comes out and hits the table is something that's presented with care and consideration," said the Northeast Charlotte Resident.

The owners thought business would roll into their new home along the light rail, in the heart of the city. "So far we don't really have the curbside appeal," said Bite Your Tongue's Manager, Paulette Purnell. Center City Partners wants to help businesses like Bite Your Tongue by transforming nearly 3 and a half miles along the light rail into biking and walking paths, gradens and parks.
"It's very functional right now but we feel like there  could be a lot more exciting things happening along the way," said Ted Boyd of Center City Partners.

A team from the City and County has worked with architects to develop the plan to improve access, to restaurants, galleries, and other businesses. "I think anything for the city. Just getting people to be more interactive in Charlotte and learning different things about it. That's always a good thing," said Purnell.

After losing everything to Hurricane Katrina, the owners of this restaurant are focusing on one meal at a time. Hoping their road to recovery in Charlotte doesn't hit a dead end. "I feel like once you come, you'll come back again. It's hard to find and easy to love," said Purnell.

Center City Partners is working to transform the Light Rail Trail from a vision to a reality. They hope to start construction within the next year and then build in phases. They are still trying to figure out where the variety of funding sources will come from.

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