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.
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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.

Seeking downtown leaders

I just got this by e-mail:

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership has two available board positions beginning July 1, 2006.

The first is a Town of Chapel Hill appointed position. It is a three year term, running July 1, 2006 – June 30, 2009. Eligible applicants are downtown property owners that contribute to the Municipal Service District Tax.

Town Council will appoint this position on June 26, 2006.

The second is a CHDP board appointed position. It is a one-year term, running July 1, 2006-June 30, 2007. Anyone can apply for this position.

The Board will appoint this position in June 28, 2006.

To apply for either position – please go to and link onto the link at the bottom of the page for the application. The application should be sent to the Town Clerk's office ASAP.

Rainy day notes

WCHL reports that education blogger David Warlick is conducting a "three-day workshop for teachers in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System." This sounds like a much better reaction than some communities which have responded to the prospect of teenagers blogging with terror and tried in vain to stop it. David is a real blogger and hopefully will be able to impart some blog culture as well as technical training. I look forward to seeing some great new blogs blossom from this effort.

The N & O reports that recently-annexed Carrboro residents have a little more time to respond to the town's survey requesting input on collective priorities.

And also this has me skeptical:

The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau will hold a public forum Thursday to discuss travel and tourism in Orange County and its towns and communities.

WCOM Flea Market Flap

Yesterday the Herald reported on WCOM's complaint that the Town of Carrboro was bogging them down by suggesting a public hearing on the proposal to run a flea market in their parking lot.

All WCOM station manager Chris Frank wanted to do was raise a little money for the community radio station.

But he says he dreams of a small community flea market are being derailed by a well-meaning -- but overly complicated -- town bureaucracy...

"It looks like the concerned staff wants to have a public hearing on our 'minor modification,' " Frank wrote in an e-mail Friday. "We can probably say 'so long' to a flea market this season. Heaven help the developer with a substantial project."
- Radio station's flea market faces snag, 6/5/06

DTH pans downtown logo

The Daily Tarheel reports that the Downtown Partnership has picked a logo and slogan, and they are not impressed.

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership made a great leap forward in bringing more shoppers to Franklin Street, as it picked a slogan and a logo.

Unfortunately, it picked a fairly lame design that should be reconsidered.

The logo is a triangle that features a lamppost similar to those found on Franklin Street; the Old Well, representing the University; and awnings to stand for all the shops and restaurants downtown.

And the slogan that shall grace this icon of Chapel Hill commerce: "Sophisticated travel destination."
- Lame-o logo - Opinion, 5/25/06

It does sound pretty weak. Does anyone know where we can see the logo?

Maybe if we close our eyes and pretend they're not here...

In response to the After Chill shooting, the Town Manager is proposing that ALL downtown gatherings be cancelled, moved, or severely curtailed with the exception of NCAA championships. This seems like a really bad idea to me. Not only are these festivals and parties great community-building events for the town, many of them can't be stopped even if we want to.

When over 70,000 people come downtown for an event that no-one has organized or even planned, you can't just tell them to go away. They are individual adults with their own decision-making authority. Just like you don't get to tell me what do on my Saturday nights, you don't get to tell them where to celebrate Halloween.

Franklin Street's days as party central might be numbered. Town staff members are floating proposals that could eliminate all but one of the main drag's main events.

The unofficial Halloween celebration might be killed by a 10 p.m. curfew. Wins over Duke and in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament might move to campus. Festifall could go to Chapel Hill High School.



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