Franklin Street might have a new partner in entrepreneurship and downtown economic development, and that partner may be just one road over.
Rosemary Imagined, a community-led planning program, is working to develop Rosemary Street and downtown Chapel Hill as part of the Chapel Hill 2020 comprehensive planning process.
The Chapel Hill 2020 plan was adopted by the Town Council in June 2012 and is now in the implementation phase — DESIGN Chapel Hill — said Catherine Lazorko, spokeswoman for the town.
The initiative aims to make the area a new entrepreneurial hub for businesses looking to move into town, creating more jobs for both residents and students, according to the Rosemary Imagined website.
“We want (Rosemary Street) to be more of a direct asset to the downtown community and Franklin Street,” said Dwight Bassett, the town’s economic development officer.
The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership started planning last spring and held its first event in June.
The community response was positive, said Meg McGurk, the Downtown Partnership’s executive director. The next event will be held on Sept. 10 at TRU Deli Wine at 114 Henderson St. from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
McGurk said town residents have already offered suggestions for the future of Rosemary Street.
“Some have said they want more shops,” McGurk said. “Some have said they want a park where kids can run around freely.”
The event is open to everyone, and students are encouraged to attend, McGurk said.
“Students have been involved with the area from the beginning,” she said.
McGurk said the group needs the input of students.
“That’s not just lip service,” she said of the partnership’s efforts to involve students.
Bassett said though students are only in the area for four years, they still should have a voice in town planning.
“They are part of the community, and they should have a chance to share and better support student life,” he said.
McGurk said the event would not be like town meetings, but more like a public social gathering.
“We are going to have time for everyone to be social and talk to other people at the event and sell their vision by persuading the crowd,” she said.
With town involvement, the partnership hopes to make the planning process more resident-centered. Those who attend the event will be able to make suggestions on what they see in the future for Rosemary Street, Bassett said.
He said attendees will wear name tags which will include their hopes for Rosemary Street.
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