Dirty South says city wants it to clean up for DNC

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Wilkinson Boulevard is often called the Gateway to Charlotte - it's a straight shot from the airport to Center City.

And come early September, the road will be really well traveled, as politicians, delegates and celebrities all arrive for the Democratic National Convention.

But as a first taste of Charlotte, Wilkinson could prove a tad unsavory for some.

The road is lined with run down buildings and sweepstakes parlors. There's a gun shop, a strip club, and an adult entertainment video store.

And, of course, there's the famed Dirty South Customs, which used to have a colorful mural on the blackened bricks of its facade outlining the company's tire rim services.

Owner Hasham Bedwan says the city recently asked him to paint over it.

"They came and asked me to remove it, to cover it up, or else I'd be fined five hundred dollars," he says.

Bedwan says the mural will be missed. It sat here for six years.  "Everybody used to stop by," he says. "It was like a landmark."

And there's no doubt in his mind that the DNC is playing a roll.

"Yes it does have something to do with it," Bedwan says. "Of course it does. Although, you know, I'm glad to appease because I'm a Charlottean now and of course I want the image of the city to be good."

Still, the cost weighs on him.  Small businesses still don't have money to burn.

The city may offer help with its facade program for small businesses.  Bedwan says he is applying for a grant.