Reboot Charlotte: Revitalizing the Beatties Ford Road Corridor
CHARLOTTE, NC - On the campus of Johnson C. Smith University, there's a renewed spirit of optimism.
Work is underway on a bold move to reboot this stretch of Beatties Ford Road.
It's a corridor which Senator Malcolm Graham (D, Mecklenburg) calls a gateway.
"It's the entrance to progressive Uptown Charlotte, it's the entrance to a historically African-American neighborhood," Graham says.
Graham is at the forefront of revitalizing this neighborhood.
And much of those plans are in partnership with the University, under the leadership of President Ronald Carter.
"We're literally killing two birds with one stone, enhancing our facilities here at Johnson C. Smith University as well as enhancing the corridor in which we live on," Graham explains.
Work is beginning at the site which will become the Mosaic Village. In one year, they hope this development, which includes retail, housing, and parking, will help serve as a catalyst to revitalizing the Beatties Ford Road Corridor.
Already students and residents can ride the Gold Rush to Uptown.
Eventually, they hope to make the 5-points intersection their own version of Trade and Tryon, with a new bookstore on one corner.
And on the other, businesses like Campus Cuts, which hope to benefit from the improvements.
"Business-wise it would bring more jobs, more opportunities," says Eric Black, with Campus Cuts.
"I think it's gotta start somewhere, being somewhere, and I think that would be a good beginning, to remap this area," says Brenton Woodson.
On one end, the bridge under I-77 will light up as a gateway to Uptown.
On the other, the city is working on road improvements leading to I-85.
"The area needs it, it needs a new beginning, it needs, the neighborhood needs something to believe in," says Anthony Strowman.
Residents like Strowman say change is needed, but admit it's been slow to develop, especially because of a tight economy.
"I mean you can hope for a lot at one time or you can take what it is and build on it and use it as a stepping stone for the next level," he says.
"The investment that is necessary will continue to enhance Charlotte's image as a world class city, that cares about it's communities, that cares about it's corridors," Sen. Graham says.
Hopeful that this is the effort that will lead to real change on the West End and Beatties Ford Road Corridor.