Economic Development Manager Kim Fleming gave an update on the Downtown Catalyst Feasibility Study. The Town of Davidson contracted with UNC's School of Government Development Finance Initiative (DFI) in August 2014 to study the 3.5 acres of town-owned property that includes Davidson Town Hall and four surface parking lots. DFI is providing specialized finance and development expertise to the Town of Davidson to determine the potential for a partnership to develop the area.
Citizens of the Town of Davidson have worked on many plans that include developing the downtown area dating back to 1993. DFI studied the market demand for retail, office, and multi-family housing in the downtown Davidson area and reported strong demand for all three market segments.
Throughout this process, the town and DFI have solicited public input on the study by meeting with local stakeholders and hosting four interactive public sessions providing opportunities for public feedback and discussion with hundreds of citizens.
DFI presented an initial rendering of proposed development on the catalyst site on October 20, 2015. After that presentation, the town realized that we needed to gather more citizen input on the potential project. In February, we hosted four roundtable discussions to gather citizen feedback on the Downtown Catalyst Feasibility Study. We hosted two more sessions in March to incorporate the current Civics 101 participants. In total we received feedback from 277 citizens. All of the notes from the sessions and the presentation from the March 22 are on our website at www.townofdavidson.org/catalyst.
Next steps will be for the Davidson Mayor and Commissioners to provide direction on what they would like to see on the site, so we can request new plans and financial information from DFI.
Affordable Housing Manager Cindy Reid gave an update on the work being done by the affordable housing steering committee. The next steps will be for the Davidson Mayor and Commissioners to review the recommendations and discuss the town’s responsibility at a future meeting.
At the February 23 work session, I presented a draft of our capital needs and estimated costs. The Davidson Board of Commissioners requested information on how to finance these capital projects. On March 22 Finance Director Pieter Swart and I outlined the various financing methods available to us and scenarios for us to examine. The Davidson Board of Commissioners directed town staff to select and work with a financial advisor to research the options available, so First Tryon presented specifics on credit ratings and answered questions. Public Information Officer Cristina Shaul reviewed our communication strategy to illustrate the importance of educating our citizens and seeking feedback from them throughout this process. The Davidson Mayor and Commissioners will provide guidance on which capital needs they would like us to focus and which methods of financing they would like us to pursue. We will discuss at a future meeting.
Pedestrian safety improvements
Our Department of Public Works worked with NC Department of Transportation to install pedestrian crossing signals at the intersections of Main Street and Chairman Blake Lane and South Street to improve pedestrian safety. We are pleased to announce that we installed a 10-foot-wide sidewalk along Jackson Street from Main Street to Griffith Street. This will enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety along Jackson Street.
April is for Arts
• Gallery Crawl: Friday, April 15 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
• Sculpture Tour: Friday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m.
• Art on the Green Festival: Saturday, April 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 17 from noon until 4:00 p.m.
• Concert on the Green: Sunday, April 17 at 6:00 p.m. featuring the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble
We are currently making improvements to Roosevelt Wilson Park by replacing the uneven asphalt paths with pavers and installing new landscaping in the northeast section of the park. The boardwalks, playground, and restrooms are still open while work is in progress. More information is available at http://www.townofdavidson.org/816/Roosevelt-Wilson-Park
The Town of Davidson has begun the planning process for a new park on the parcel of land in the southeast corner of Bailey Springs. The purpose of the project is to add active athletic facilities for the community as identified in the 2014 Town of Davidson Parks and Recreation Master Plan. All citizens are invited to an open house to learn more about potential amenities at Historic Beaver Dam: Sunday, April 10, 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. or Thursday, April 14, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact Parks and Recreation Director Kathryn Spatz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-940-9625.
The Davidson Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, April 12 at 4:00 p.m. (pre-meeting) and 6:00 p.m. (regular meeting) in the Davidson Town Hall Board Room. Please join us.