Downtown Raleigh group battles Fayetteville Street's 'boring' image

Tom George Image
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Downtown Raleigh group battles Fayetteville Street's 'boring' image
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The Downtown Raleigh Alliance is asking for opinions on ways to improve the experience on Fayetteville Street.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As you walk down Fayetteville Street these days, a lot of people say it just doesn't seem to have the hustle and bustle of the downtown of a capital city that you might expect. That's why the Downtown Raleigh Alliance is asking for opinions on ways that can be improved.

Stacey Chen is part of Interface Studio, a group contracted with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance to get input on how to revamp downtown. They've talked to businesses and community leaders and on Wednesday, it was open to the public, inviting people walking by to share their two cents.

"Fayetteville Street is very boring, and the things they have going on a lot of times feels like it's just doing something to do something," said Krystal Argentine.

Argentine was among the dozens who filled out cards with suggestions. She said she feels that downtown should cater more toward creatives and small businesses instead of larger corporate spaces.

Part of the issue is that for-lease signs are still sandwiched between businesses, and those who are there, such as Element Gastropub, say the foot traffic just hasn't always been there.

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"We've made a little comeback, but it seems like a lot of shift has been to remote work, so that definitely hurts the lunchtime crowd," said Laila Kidd.

But aside from the post-COVID slowdown and transition to work from home, safety has also become the elephant in the room.

"People defecating outside where people are walking by, or let's just say vulgar activities and it's not able to be addressed, that scares people away from downtown," Kidd said.

Along with the interviews with businesses and the public feedback they've received, the group will be making its final recommendations to the Downtown Raleigh Alliance within a few months.

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