Gladdek’s passion for urban planning began in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. Gladdek said the architecture there interested him as a kid.
“Me and my family used to go to hockey games, so we (would) always be in the city and see these amazing buildings,” he said. “So, it was always interesting to me to want to work in a city in a downtown area and help recreate that walkable, vibrant life.”
After working in the Massachusetts State Legislature and studying abroad in England, Gladdek moved back to Boston. He said understanding what an urban area has to offer made him look at city planning degrees. While living in the city, he was able to save money and cut two hours off of his commuting time.
Gladdek also earned a master’s in city & regional planning and a master’s in public administration from UNC. He recently directed policy and planning for Downtown Durham, Inc., where he led the Downtown Durham Master Plan.
Gladdek said the change on Franklin Street is exciting.
“Franklin is changing," he said. "This rapid change changes dynamics of things like who customers are, and that change is what made being back at Franklin so exciting.”
Gladdek said his goal is to make people’s vision about the downtown more cohesive. He emphasized the importance of imagining what people want to feel while walking in the fabric of the Town.
“I’ve been trying to start some public meetings to have people to brainstorm what it is that makes Chapel Hill special,” he said. “A lot of our plans talk a lot about the physical environment, and there’s been less of what a single idea is of what the downtown should be.”
Gladdek also said finding ways to continue the excitement of Franklin Street is important because many customers are choosing to go to new businesses in towns like Carrboro.
He looks forward to talking to people in Chapel Hill.
“It’ll be really important for people to be honest with me about their thoughts and feelings about downtown. And then we will take all that information to do an internal strategic plan,” he said. “I think it’s a really exciting time for Franklin Street and the partnership. I’m really happy to take part in it.”