The approval is a step which allow the city to apply for federal, state and private funding to implement the plan, Main Street Development Director Christina Caudle said following this evening’s council meeting.
There are at least 20 potential funding sources which include options on the federal, state and private level. “Without a plan we can’t apply for … funding,” she said. “This a long-term vision for the streetscape.”
The final presentation this evening by Sharon Rhue, a landscape architect with Rivers & Associates, comes after two community input meetings were held, one in December and another in February.
The topics of the meeting not only included the avenue business district but the vacant space left by the demolition of 1026 Roanoke Avenue. “It’s awesome the facade is still there,” Rhue said.
Input gleaned from the two input meetings favored a vintage department store theme for the open space.
A river theme was favored by stakeholders for the avenue streetscape plan.
Rhue told council the streetscape plan is designed to improve the economic potential of the avenue business district, improve pedestrian safety and provide better access to parking while maintaining the city’s small town character, “maintaining what is special and unique. I recommend you continue the process. It’s going to be very much a private, public partnership.”
The city used $35,000 of grant funding to pay Rivers & Associates to come up with the streetscape concepts as well as plans for the 1026 project. The money from which the $35,000 comes from was out of a North Carolina Department of Commerce Downtown Revitalization grant, which required no matching funds from the city. In all, Main Street Roanoke Rapids received slightly more than $94,000.
Main Street has reserved $25,000 to be put into 1026.