Raleigh looks to shine in 2010

Image source: Wikimedia - picture by Mark Turner

December 29, 2009 4:17:36 PM PST
2009 wasn't a bright year for Raleigh. Like the rest of the country, there was plenty of belt tightening and unemployment soared.

"It's really been a hard year for a lot of people," explained Mayor Charles Meeker.

But the mayor - now in his fifth 2-year term - expects 2010 to be much different - starting with some big decisions.

"First, Dix Hill Park - probably be a decision in the first part of the year as to whether this becomes a park or a state office complex," said Meeker.

Regional transit is a huge focus for the city and Raleigh should find out whether it'll be in the first phase of funding for high speed rail service in the New Year.

"If so, that could bring rail here more quickly with a lot more federal dollars paying for it instead of local rail. It also could change planning on the local rail, since the federal corridor will already been improved," said Meeker.

One project that's already been approved is a downtown Raleigh amphitheatre.

"Fortunately, something like the amphitheatre is fairly inexpensive since the city already owns the land," said Meeker. "We oughta have as much as 20-25 concerts this summer in downtown Raleigh."

Still - downtown Raleigh construction projects have been singing the blues lately.

"A handful of projects are doing okay. Most are not. Some are on hold. The ones that are finished are having trouble selling," said Meeker.

The mayor hopes banks will start lending again so Raleigh can start growing again.

"[It] has been hard, and like so many folks, I'm optimistic that next year will be a lot easier," he said.

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