HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - It’s been five years since people in the city of Hickory approved bond packages totaling $40 million for city improvements. The city also secured about $47 million in Federal and State grants.
Now, construction is well underway on what leaders call the City Walk Project. The focus is a ten foot-wide path that will eventually go for miles from Lenoir-Rhyne University to the Catawba River at Highway 321 and connect via pedestrian bridge to the Winkler Park and the L.P. Frans Baseball Stadium.
Along the way various other projects will be done. Right now, the downtown business district is getting the major makeover.
Union Square has been under heavy construction since April with the goal being to make an attractive centerpiece for the downtown area. Yaidee Fox of the City Manager’s office says it is an exciting time for Hickory.
“Over the next five years you will see Hickory completely transformed in a positive way,” Fox said.
The goal of the program when it was first envisioned was to make the area a better place for business and families. At the time, things were on a downward trend, says Fox.
“We were losing population, significantly, along with jobs.”
That has already turned around, she says, and due in some part to projects already underway through the bond issue. People should expect to see more construction in the months and years ahead, she said.
The downtown project on Union Square is expected to be largely completed in September, just in time for Octoberfest, said officials. It would be the first big event downtown since before the work began.