On Tuesday, September 10 the community gathered at TRU Wine+Deli to pitch their ideas for the future of Rosemary Street. Instead of an informational meeting, we challenged attendees to pick one vision or idea that they believe is what Rosemary Street truly needs. Then they had to convince everyone else that it is the best!
Attendees began the evening with writing on a name tag that vision; after a brief update from Meg McGurk, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, and Dwight Bassett, Economic Development Officer for the Town of Chapel Hill, all were told to get social!
They had 45 minutes to meet others and explain their vision; find those that agreed with them and attempt to change the minds of those that disagreed. Then all who were so moved by their vision had the opportunity to get up for 60 seconds – exactly timed – and pitch their idea.
Fifteen people got up and expertly held to that 60 seconds, in fact some even had a few seconds to spare! Passion and creativity flowed. Some ideas were very specific market-driven retail and service ideas – a climbing wall and grocery store. Other ideas centered around using the Big Idea from the Chapel Hill 2020 process - better technological resources so entrepreneurial ventures can thrive. And many ideas addressed the physical infrastructure – unified streetscape, urban farming, and fewer surface parking lots.
Then came the text-to-voting! Everyone had two votes to give and the results were projected on the wall in real time. The winner was the concept of taking the surface parking lot at the corner of Columbia and Rosemary streets and building a mixed-use building with a ground-level market and greenspace.
The full list of ideas on the name tags:
- A design district that’s a whole lot of beautiful fun
- Retail on street level with residential above
- To see the Hargraves Center extended to Rosemary Street
- A craft store
- More business, fix sidewalks, better light
- Attractive housing options
- Use the natural grade to create parking decks with development on top
- Bury electrical lines; create streetscape; celebrate intergenerational presence; creativity; innovative; intellectual
- Sidewalks on both sides
- Fewer parking lots and more places to shop (other than for food)
- A climbing wall/gym (like Asheville)—climbing center
- Integrated with Franklin Street—parks, gathering areas, crossways
- A grocery store
- Grocery store
- A state of the art fitness center
- Grocery store
- Affordable/student housing
- A walkable, vibrant exciting gathering place for town and university
- More restaurants: nonchain local food; grocery store; more retail with men’s clothing and outdoor goods; beer gardens and non-college bars
- A better pedestrian space
- More diverse restaurants!
- An art supply store
- Space for food trucks; pedestrian friendly roads; family-friendly retail/restaurants
- Climbing wall/club
- Grocery store and other shops for neighborhood residents
- Entrepreneurial hub; parking; affordable housing
- A market park
- More small business; retail and park space
- Less parking lots
Some local media coverage of the event: