Charlotte City Councilwoman Victoria Watlington recently met with members of the West Boulevard community to discuss current and planned improvement projects to increase economic opportunity.
The city is investing $24.5 million in six key corridors through its Corridors of Opportunity program. Those corridors are West Boulevard, Beatties Ford/Rozzelles Ferry, Central/Albemarle, Freedom Drive/Wilkinson, Graham Street/North Tryon and Sugar Creek/I-85
The city’s approach to Corridors of Opportunity includes filling in gaps in infrastructure, transportation, workforce and business development, public safety, and urban development.
Some of the projects underway in West Boulevard include:
• Establishing a multi-year, $80,000 per year commitment to the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition 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,” Watlington said. “We have a playbook in place to guide West Boulevard into the future as a vibrant corridor into the city.”
Watlington said such corridors serve as vital links that connect people to resources and businesses.
She explained other improvements 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 use the sidewalks and the streets for extra seating to provide a safer environment during the pandemic.
• Conducting a labor study that includes West Boulevard to understand the barriers in finding employment and determine the current skillsets of the residents living along this corridor to develop jobs that are the best fit.