Council Member Victoria Watlington announces grants
Cory Burkarth
Cory.Burkarth@CharlotteNC.gov
11/5/2020
West Blvd Corridor Event

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (November 5, 2020) – Charlotte City Council Member Victoria Watlington along with Mayor Vi Lyles and Council Members Larken Egleston and Malcolm Graham met with members of the West Boulevard community on Thursday to discuss current and planned improvement projects to increase economic opportunity, including:

  • Establishing a multi-year, $80,000 per year commitment to the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition (WBNC) to develop an active West Boulevard Merchant’s Association and grow and cultivate youth programming at the Seeds for Change Farm.

  • Support the opening of the city’s first grocery co-op, the Three Sisters Market.

  • Commit $85,000 in grants to the City West Commons center for renovations and security improvements.

  • Create an Access-Charlotte Public Wifi hub in the City West Commons center.

“Real change is underway,” said Watlington. “We have a playbook in place to guide West Boulevard into the future as a vibrant corridor into the city.”

Under the city’s Corridors of Opportunity program, $24.5 million is being invested in six key corridors:

  • West Boulevard

  • Beatties Ford/Rozzelles Ferry

  • Central/Albemarle

  • Freedom Drive/Wilkinson

  • Graham Street/North Tryon

  • Sugar Creek/I-85

The city’s wholistic approach to the Corridors of Opportunity includes filling in gaps in infrastructure, transportation, workforce and business development, public safety, and urban development.

Watlington said the corridors serve as vital links that connect people to the resources and businesses communities they need to live and thrive.

She gave special thanks to the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition for its help in laying the groundwork for the city’s current work in the West Boulevard corridor, saying the coalition “has been everything the city could hope for in a partner.”

Watlington noted other improvement projects the city is conducting along the corridor, including:

  • Working with the new owners of the former Jack-in-the-Box site at 1600 West Boulevard for the renovation and re-activation of the well-known corner building.

  • Establishing a $30,000 upfit grant to modernize Mr. Jim’s Pizza at 1603 West Boulevard and the neighboring beauty salon as well as supporting the property owner in their plans to fill the vacant third retail space.

  • Providing funds to the West Side Community Land Trust to purchase a parcel where two historic shotgun homes will be relocated as well as donating four parcels to the Land Trust. Those combined donations have a total value of $249,000.

  • Adding West Boulevard to the city StreetEats Program where the city makes it possible for area restaurants to utilize the sidewalks and the streets to accommodate additional seating to provide a safer environment during the pandemic.

  • Conducting a labor study that includes West Boulevard to understand the current barriers in finding employment and determine the current skillsets of the residents living along this corridor to develop jobs that are the very best fit.

Watlington asked the community for its help moving forward including participation in a survey the city is launching next week to help determine the areas where the city and the community can team up to be the most successful.