City of Charlotte announces new revitalization project, community advocates worry about possible negative effects of gentrification

Project to revitalize Charlotte communities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The city of Charlotte announced a $24.5 million investment Wednesday into its new project called the Corridors of Opportunity.

The goal is to revitalize certain intersections and neighborhoods within Charlotte to re-energize the space and community with jobs, business opportunities, essential services and economic development.

The areas chosen were identified as crime hot spots by the city council back in January:

  • Beatties Ford/Rozzelles Ferry
  • West Boulevard
  • Freedom Drive and Wilkinson
  • Sugar Creek and I-85
  • Graham Street and North Tryon
  • Central and Albemarle Road

Several of the projects announced on Wednesday are ready to break ground before the end of the year.

“Certainly everyone wants to live in a community that is safe, everyone wants to be able to live in a community that is clean," said city councilman Malcolm Graham, who is heading the project.

He says the first steps in the revitalization project are to make sure the area are safe and clean. The city is continuing to work with CMPD to focus on crime reduction and violence interruption programs.

The project start on Beatties Ford Road, which became a priority for the city after four people were killed in a shooting over the summer.

Several projects already planned, including a new park near Johnson C. Smith University, sidewalks underneath the I-77 underpass, new retail space and affordable housing.

Many of these projects are ready to break ground by the end of the year.

“Close your eyes and do a 360, you’ll see a lot of change and really fast," said a city staff member who worked on the development project.

The City of Charlotte has had similar revitalization projects in the past, but they say this is different and they say there’s a few reasons why. The first one being these aren’t just ideas city council is floating around. These are projects are shovel-ready.

Several of the ones mentioned are ready to break ground and some might be completed in the next six months or so.

The project is also going to be a blend of both public and private sector and funds working together to bring these projects to life.

They expect for people to see the changes on Beatties Ford soon.

The other reason why they say its different is because of the private and public partnerships.

Many of the groups who own property on Beatties Ford road are getting support from the city to partner together to revitalize the area.

Community leaders who work on Beatties Ford road say they understand the need for development in the area but are nervous it could lead to gentrification and that marginalized communities would be pushed out of their homes.

“Economic development needs to happen but not in the sense of you removing the people to make it happen. Economically you’re helping the people so they can stay at the foundation of where they’re from," said community leader, Gemini Boyd

Councilman Graham was quick to say this project is not to remove people but instead give them a better life.

" We want to make sure the residents are a part of the change and not victims of it," Graham said. “We’re going to work as hard as we can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

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