Today’s Concept: Walkable Neighborhoods

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Vann Joines is our Resident Downtown Prophet; he always explains things in the language of possibilities. Don’t be surprised if the revitalization folks in town follow him off the end of a bridge because he has bewitched everyone with his expertise and vision for the future. I am one of his pupils learning the vocabulary of urban renewal. Understanding the need for Beal Street Square, and how it fits into the puzzle, is so COOL, as my generation once mouthed; I can’t imagine you won’t find it COOL too.

13659174_657105694451339_4601412636759221156_nVann explains, “Strong housing investments are what make downtown redevelopment sustainable long term because if more people live in walking distance to downtown, businesses will follow those people, and downtown will thrive again.” We know that Capital Broadcasting Company is redeveloping the Mill accordingly. The Mill Village revival is fantastic.

The concept referred to as ‘walkable neighborhoods’ is much more than the availability of sidewalks. It is an understanding of pathways for creating safe places to live, providing and revitalizing workforce housing, and protecting the environment. Renewal experts have determined that the revival of surrounding neighborhoods to downtown core areas are essential to any revitalization process. Hence Beal Street Square in the Happy Hill Neighborhood. Read this earlier post about the ground breaking. 

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One unique neighborhood at a time, a puzzle piece at a time, we have the planning and implementation of comprehensive projects like Beal Street Square, an integrated approach to revitalization that includes commercial, retail/institutional, residential/mixed use, streets, and parks development. Part of the plan is to provide places where employees want to live who come here to work. Building strong neighborhoods walkable to downtown is another banner to lift on high. As we grow a population in walking distance to downtown, businesses will benefit from daily dollars being spent during the workday and afterwork. Strong housing investments are what make downtown redevelopment sustainable long term.

Walkable neighborhoods are sparking the revival of communities as great places to live, work and play — walkable, energy-efficient, culturally dynamic and integrated in race and class. You know what I have said in the past….in the words of Tinker Bell, clap your hands and BELIEVE.

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About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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2 Responses to Today’s Concept: Walkable Neighborhoods

  1. Terri Baines Fieldman says:

    33 River Drive, pictured in this article is where my grandparents lived. They raised a family of 4 boys, 1 girl in this 4 room home. Hot water didn’t run through pipes, it was heated on the gas stove. A garden was out in back of the house and laundry was hung to dry. Quilts were made for Christmas gifts and fried chicken, collards, banana pudding and sweet tea were staples from my grandma’s kitchen. Too many memories. Saying goodbye before her 97th birthday in that very same house was by far the saddest of those memories. Then I turn my mind back to a 4 year old girl running through the yard catching lightning bugs, playing chase with cousins, and rocking on the porch while saying “hey!” to neighbors on their porches. Those are by far my favorite childhood memories.

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    • Thank you, Terri for this lovely reflection. I’m happy that the photograph caused you to write this wonderful glimpse of the story that is part of 33 River Drive.I hope you are writing little pieces like this down. If not, begin to do so.

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