Raleigh considers free parking, dog park, other enhancements to boost Downtown: 'Critical stage'

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Tuesday, March 26, 2024
Raleigh considers ways to draw consumers to Downtown
The City of Raleigh is trying to come up with a game plan on how to increase foot traffic in the Downtown area. Several options were tossed around at a committee meeting on Tuesday.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The City of Raleigh is trying to come up with a game plan on how to increase foot traffic in the Downtown area.

A committee meeting was held and several options were tossed around. Raleigh mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin stressed at the meeting that "downtown is in a critical stage and we're at a pivotal moment."

Unorthodox Vintage is located along Wilmington Street and Manager Iyana Thompson says thankfully, business has been on the upswing.

The Downtown Raleigh shop has been beefing up its social media presence and it's bringing more people into the store.

"They're (other businesses are) actually slower on Fayetteville Street and we're just a street over," said Thompson.

ABC11 has learned that the city has more than $1.3 million in unused General Capital reserves funds to invest in downtown approvements.

"The ball is in the city council's court," said Raleigh Budget Director Sadia Satter.

Some considerations include adding more enhancements at Moore Square, constructing a permanent dog park, improving sidewalks, building more housing along Fayetteville Street, or offering two-hour free parking at city-owned decks.

The City has already hired a private security firm to increase patrols and address safety concerns.

This past November, the owner Clyde Cooper's BBQ announced her desire to relocate out of the downtown because of crime.

"Our downtown is sort of the economic driver for our city, for this region, and if we don't get that right - we're going to really struggle in other areas," said Raleigh Council Member Jonathan Melton.

Thompson is looking forward to any improvements.

"I do like being downtown. Downtown is it's still like a magnet for people who especially the people who are like moving here from bigger cities," said Thompson.

The options were discussed in a committee meeting. The entire Raleigh City Council would need to sign off on any of the recommendations.