Economy & Downtown

Chapel Hill's downtown has long benefited from its proximity to a captive audience of University students without cars. While downtowns around the country have been failing, ours has survived fairly well. However, we have seen an increase in the number of chain stores locating downtown, and instability in the Downtown Economic Development Corporation. In the near future, we will see new Town-directed development on two major parking lots have a big impact.
<br /><br />
Carrboro's downtown has also done better than many towns of comparable size, thanks largely to the presence of Weaver Street Market and progressive shoppers from the rest of the county. The Board of Aldermen has been addressing the evolution of the downtown, and have established a number of community resources in the downtown area including free wireless Internet access, and a low-power radio station.

I don't want to sit on Santa's lap

Is it just me or does the Downtown Partnership's* "Festival of Lights" sound like the mall-i-fication of downtown?

"Authentic Food" at WSM

Weaver Street Market has taken an important step forward in the movement toward realizing a more sustainable food system. Calling the new development “authentic food”, the market is looking beyond the organic pedigree of a food product to incorporate additional elements such as the production environment, working conditions, and transportation.

WSM's initiative is in response to the entry of the likes of Wal-Mart into the organic food market, which “mean we risk losing important values traditionally associated with organic farming, such as improving the environment, keeping family farmers in business, and treating farm workers fairly. We also risk losing a labeling distinction that has helped us make meaningful choices on your behalf.”

Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore's Dilemma” and who recently visited the area puts it like this:

Fear of heights

It's disappointing to see the Chapel Hill News this week stoking our fears of skyscrapers instead of adding some new ideas or perspectives to the critical dialog about the nature of growth downtown.I am so tired about hearing people simply exclaim over the number of stories a building has without discussing its design, infrastructure, relationship to other buildings to the street and to the sidewalk, impact on transportation, or public service features. It's not that height doesn't matter, but it's meaningless in isolation. You can have an ugly 3-story building or a beautiful 10-story building. We need to move past this one-dimensional focus on height into a more sophisticated vision for the future of Chapel Hill. I am hoping that the upcoming revision of Chapel Hill's Comprehensive Plan will be one venue for this discussion.

Is Chapel Hill getting cool again?

As was mentioned on the tourism thread, comedian Lewis Black is buying a home in downtown Chapel Hill.

Black, a Daily Show and HBO favorite famous for his jittery gesticulations and splenetic sputterings on President Bush, clueless Americans and corporate greed, has purchased a two-bedroom unit at Chapel Hill's Condominiums at McCorkle Place, 213 E. Franklin St., a 69-year-old brick building sandwiched between the University Presbyterian Church and the Kappa Delta sorority house.

"This is the first place I've ever bought," said Black, who lives in Hell's Kitchen in New York City. "I've been broke most of my life."
- The Independent: News

Question tourism

I really enjoyed this recent letter to the editor in the Chapel Hill News:

What a shame to foretell "gloom and doom" during hurricane season, but I must add my 2-cents worth to the intention of Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of the Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau, and Daniel Wallace, gifted novelist, to put Carrboro on the national map via feature articles and testimonials in national publications. What could these people be thinking of?

Remember what Money magazine and other national coverage (that rated the best places to live in the United States) did for Chapel Hill? Did this type of coverage entice visitors? No. Droves of people moved here to live fore the duration. They were not tourists. And now we have four-lane highways where we used to have two-lane roads. And schools? No matter how many new schools are built, there are never enough to go around for long. And let's not do more than mention the deforestation.

So what makes the bureau think its publicity will attract only its stated audience-tourists?



Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.