10 years from now, you may be walking in a more modernized city. Picture this — more parking spaces downtown, lots of small businesses, and improved pedestrian-friendly roads. Before we get ahead of ourselves, here’s why the City of Winston-Salem is revitalizing the downtown area.
On Monday, the city council approved the 2023 Downtown Plan — a guide on future land use in the downtown area. It was created to keep up of the new demands due to the growth of the city over the last ten years. The update is a collaborative effort with the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and planning staff. Residents, neighborhood organizations, and business interests contributed ideas and input.
The plan aims to create a city that is walkable, safe, and connected. The goal is to build and foster a community that welcomes a diverse group of workers, visitors, and residents. The planning committee took previously adopted plans into consideration and public voting was put in place to gather various viewpoints and expertise. Here are the three categories put in place:
- Advocate for more diverse housing types, including affordable housing
- Offer matching grant to potential long-term tenants who will occupy vacant spaces
- Recruit potential grocery stores and develop an annual festival that celebrates the food scene downtown
- Develop a “Pop-Up Program” to provide space for small retail startups with minimal start-up costs
- Create more on-street parking and update technology for payment systems
- Build outdoor amphitheater that would bring live entertainment with 5,000 or more seating capacity
- Add street lights and improve walkability
- Increase accessibility to scooters and bikes for easier navigation
- Add trees and landscaping to beautify the area
- Expand public art projects and upgrade sidewalk dining
- Maintain and leverage the current downtown architecture
Downtown Partnership says the enhanced appearance of downtown will make the city stand out in a competitive regional and national field.