The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday December 6th

Planning event Tuesday focused on future of Rosemary Street

Rosemary Imagined social event for members of the community to come together and present ideas for adding value to Rosemary St. Held at Tru Deli and Wine Bar
Writer interviewed her Bernadette Keefe
Buy Photos Rosemary Imagined social event for members of the community to come together and present ideas for adding value to Rosemary St. Held at Tru Deli and Wine Bar Writer interviewed her Bernadette Keefe

Rosemary Street is more to Chapel Hill than parking lots — the town wants to turn it into a hub for business and community.

Residents and students came together Tuesday night at TRU Deli Wine to discuss their visions for Rosemary Street. Rosemary Imagined, part of the Chapel Hill 2020 initiative, is a community-led planning program working toward transforming the street.

Meg McGurk, the executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said she wanted community members to come and share ideas and hopes for the area.

“Downtown is the heart of the community,” McGurk said. “We need community input to make it great.”

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said the initiative will craft a new vision for downtown.

“This will activate a new main street,” he said. “We need to tie the entertainment district of Franklin Street to the residential area of Rosemary.”

Bernadette Keefe, a Rosemary Street resident who attended the event, said she has been waiting for a program like Rosemary Imagined for a long time, and she can’t wait to be part of it.

“This street has incredible potential,” Keefe said. “It has a combination of all ages, all walks of life and incredible creativity in the students.”

And Keefe said the uniqueness of the street makes it perfect for a initiative like this.

“All the fabric and richness and diversity make it phenomenal,” she said.

Many UNC students also attended the event and shared their ideas with residents and town leaders.

“We are students and we do care,” said sophomore Laura Hoerning.

Hoerning and sophomore Katharine Mather both said they want to see a safer Rosemary Street.

“We need better crosswalks,” Hoerning said. “We also need space for more food trucks.”

Kleinschmidt said the town needs to encourage more retail in order to support those who are already living in the area.

“We don’t need more burrito places or more bars,” he said. “We need everyday things like a grocery store and a dry cleaners — basic retail.”

After a brief social session, attendees pitched their ideas, which included a park, market, wider sidewalks, affordable student housing, a trolley system and a rock climbing center.

Graduate student John Perry said the area needs fewer parking lots in order to make it a more enjoyable space.

“Right now, Rosemary’s function is parking for Franklin Street,” Perry said. “It needs to complement it, not support it.”

Kleinschmidt said Rosemary Street is the obvious next step in the Chapel Hill 2020 initiative since it is the second main street that connects the area to Carrboro.

“If we want our downtown to be the center, we need more than one main street,” he said. “We need blocks, people and businesses.”

city@dailytarheel.com

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