Beginning in 2006, when the City first invested in a downtown Master Plan to serve as a catalyst for revitalization, the Center Street Streetscape project in the heart of Downtown Goldsboro culminated last week with hundreds turning out to celebrate at the rainy ribbon-cutting celebration.
The streetscape project took off as a result of the 2006 Master Plan’s recommendation of a complete transformation of Center Street to address functional, aesthetic, safety, scale and also aging infrastructure issues. In 2011, the City set out to re-envision one block of Center Street at a cost of $2.38 million. Due, at least in part, to this demonstration of commitment by the City’s leaders, along with a “Complete Street” design concept, the USDOT awarded Goldsboro a $10 million TIGER grant in 2013, a portion of which was earmarked to build three more blocks of the streetscape project. This “Phase II” took the downtown to an entirely new level, installing three round-a-bouts, public art, a 12-foot granite fountain, bike lanes, extra wide sidewalks, mid-block crosswalks, underground utilities, Wi-Fi, music, game tables, shade trees and more green and pedestrian space than the street had ever seen.
As a result, since the 1st block began four years ago, 45 new businesses have opened (bringing the downtown total to 240) and 22 properties have been sold to new investors.
Landscape Architect Allison Platt & Associates led the Master Planning effort in 2006, as well as the first phase of the streetscape project, and in 2013 with the award of the TIGER grant, partnered with The Wooten Company to ensure that Phase II continued to balance vehicular movement and infrastructure, while still providing aesthetic appeal to the street.
During the second phase, the focus on coordination was brought to an even higher level, as under the new pavement, brick pavers and grassy medians, water lines were replaced or rehabilitated and storm drainage systems were redesigned, and at the street level the traffic flow, parking patterns, and sidewalks were completely reinvented. Keeping local business owners in mind, traffic patterns were carefully managed as the street was rebuilt so that access could be maintained to each shop along Center Street. Financed with federal funding, The Wooten Company and Allison Platt & Associates’ extensive experience in coordinating the input and reviews of various entities when projects are financed by outside sources was imperative to the smooth completion of the project.
Ultimately, the City of Goldsboro’s strong vision for a bustling downtown has already begun to pay off, and on a chilly and rainy Monday evening, hundreds of excited residents applauded as City officials cut the ribbon, and then proceeded to parade down their new Center Street to the beat of the local drum line.