I have a question. Who benefits, I mean really benefits, from a new “streetscape” in downtown Concord? Is it truly the citizens of Concord? - wait, that’s two questions. The point is that we locals go downtown for a specific reason – whether it’s to pay a bill, get some ice cream, or visit a restaurant. We don’t “stroll” downtown. There really isn’t a reason to. Downtown Concord is event driven meaning that is the only time the street is full.
So, why is that? (oops, another question) – Let’s face it, Concord is not a Blowing Rock, nor a New Hope, PA, or even a Greenville, South Carolina. As far as I know there has been no effort to bring in those funky little businesses that make a great downtown and bring in tourist dollars to the downtown area. Those towns, along with thousands of others, still have street parking for accessibility for folks of all ages and have vibrant, active downtown areas. Hey, even Asheville has been successful without “streetscaping” that impacts its citizens and tourists.
Then there is the issue of business survival through a long construction process. How long would the restaurants and small shops last when they are not accessible while construction is going on? I’m sure the city isn’t going to offer a subsidy to tide them over. So, let’s add maybe 10 percent to the unoccupied space already in downtown. It would be far better to leave the “streetscape” alone – after all it is still charming – and use the money to entice businesses to downtown that would truly make downtown a “destination” for all. Those would be dollars well spent.