Public weighs in on future Durham development plans called 'Destination Master Plan'

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
The Destination Master Plan | Public invited to weigh in on Durham development plans at town hall event
The public got a chance Tuesday to weigh in on the more than 60 initiatives to improve the future of Durham.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The public got a chance Tuesday to weigh in on the more than 60 initiatives to improve the future of Durham.

"The Destination Master Plan" -- organized by Discover Durham -- is an assessment of the city's development needs over the next 20 years based on the vision of community members. Discover Durham worked with an international consulting firm on the concept.

The plan's vision states by 2044, Durham "will be the most welcoming, inclusive, innovative and vibrant destination in the United States, while thoughtfully honoring its history and people."

Coming from the California Coast, the Bull City has its perks, according to Angela and Chris Simmons.

"It's a booming city," Angela said. "We were drawn -- coming from LA -- to the food scene and all the entertainment. It just seemed to be a lot going on here."

The compliments come as the Bull City is bracing for a massive change - nearly doubling in population size to more than 450,000 by 2047, according to a presentation in March.

"As our population swells, what are those things that are going to continue to make it so vibrant?" Discover Durham president and CEO Susan Amey said.

Some of the initiatives in the Destination Master Plan include a sports complex and expanding the Durham Convention Center.

"There's a sports complex that we've been talking about for some time that is really desperately needed in Durham," Amey said. "And there's discussion about the need for a bigger convention center so we can host bigger meetings and gatherings in Durham. We need family friendly attractions and things to do. We've got some beautiful ones ... but we need to add more to give people more things to do."

SEE ALSO | Durham mayor delivers first State of the City: 'Durham is dope'

The mayor dived headfirst into public safety and told the audience he hopes that Durham becomes the most progressive city of public safety in America.

It's too early to tell how the Bull City will grow in 20 years but for long-time resident Yvonne Peyton, the change has been positive.

"Well, it's more restaurants and hotels and people are living downtown," Peyton said. "I know it's growing, and DPAC has really made a big impact. I like going there."

Tuesday's Town Hall at the Carolina Theatre is one of several planned this summer, according to Amey. The next chance for the public to weigh in at another Town Hall event is on Saturday, June 8.

"This is all about how we can take the visitors that come to Durham and all of the economic impact that they provide and leverage that to create a community that's better for all of us," Amey said.

It is a concept Mayor Leonardo Williams endorsed during his recent State of the City Address.

Discover Durham has already interviewed over 2,000 members of the community and Durham leaders to develop ideas that could boost Bull City's attractiveness as a destination while honoring its history and people.

Among the over 60 recommended initiatives in this plan include:

  • Indoor and outdoor sports venues, including both new and expanded facilities
  • A larger, more contemporary convention center with an adjacent hotel
  • Increasing the number and scope of quality events and festivals held in the community
  • Expanding parks and pathway connectivity
  • Creating a greenway bridging 147 that provides an inviting and more walkable connection between the Hayti and downtown districts
  • Additional family-friendly attractions and activities

SEE ALSO | New housing project in Durham approved unanimously over concerns from neighbors