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Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership announced collaboration with Habitat for Humanity at annual meeting Friday

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership presented a report and plans for 2017 on Friday at its annual meeting was held at DSI Comedy Theatre. 

“Events like this make people get together and see each other, put faces to names, talk about what’s going on in their businesses,” said Don Tise, board chairperson for the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and co-owner of Tise-Keister Architect.

Tise introduced the hour-long meeting presentation to an audience of downtown business owners, property owners and representatives from the University and Orange County. Tise quickly passed the presentation on to Bobby Funk, assistant director of Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership. 

Funk presented a business report for the town of Chapel Hill. The report revealed that retention was at 93.7 percent for businesses that opened at the beginning of 2016, and at about 81 percent for businesses that opened at the beginning of 2014 and 2012. The last year also saw the closing of 16 businesses and the opening of 12, compared to 17 and 18, respectively in 2015.

Campus and Community Coalition Director, Elinor Landess, spoke to explain its purpose and importance. The coalition works with UNC to address the problem of high-risk drinking in downtown Chapel Hill and surrounding neighborhoods to reduce its adverse effects. 

Meg McGurk, executive director of the downtown partnership announced the partnership’s new collaboration with Orange County Habitat for Humanity. McGurk introduced Jennifer Player, director of development and administration for Orange County Habitat for Humanity, to further explain the new partnership. 

“The goal is to bring together downtown businesses, downtown property owners, downtown residents to come together to help build these homes,” Player said.

The collaboration, called Neighbors with Northside, will work to construct nine affordable homes in the historic Northside neighborhood to preserve its fabric of community connection.

Habitat for Humanity has a goal to make about 25 major repairs to existing homes in the neighborhood by the end of the year and four new homes are set to begin construction in March 2017. 

McGurk also announced a 2020 plan that will address new sign ordinances in downtown Chapel Hill.

She wrapped up the meeting by presenting the hashtag #MeetDowntown, urging residents to find and discover things about downtown that they don’t already know. She also pushed for the goal that Chapel Hill remains “loud and proud.”

“We’re incredibly proud of our downtown and we want to make sure that we are screaming it from the tops of those swinging cranes and the tops of those growing buildings downtown,” she said. 


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