The City of Hickory was recently awarded funding for several projects that will complement the bond projects by connecting amenities throughout the City, as well as creating new housing and business development opportunities.
Additional funding has been awarded to the City of Hickory, which includes grants and contributions, for the following new projects that connect to the current bond projects:
The destinations that will now be connected to the bond projects include Lenoir-Rhyne University, the SALT Block, and the Ridgeview community, thus connecting amenities throughout the City from LRU to Lake Hickory.
"These are exciting times in Hickory and we look forward to the positive impact these projects will have on our economy," said Mayor Hank Guess.
The Transportation Advisory Board of the Greater Hickory Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) awarded $7.2 million of federal Surface Transportation Block Grant - Direct Attributable (STBG-DA) funds to three projects:
"The addition of these three projects greatly enhances our initiative to connect neighborhoods and encourage economic development and growth in our community," said Mayor Guess.
"The funding of the Book Walk and Book Walk South projects is great news for Ridgeview residents. It is a testament to the progress in our community and our City," said David Williams, Hickory City Councilman from Ward 4.
Staff is in the early stages of evaluating utility and right-of-way conditions in order to identify the most feasible route. Once this is done, the City will engage the Ridgeview community for public input and comment on this project in order to finalize the plan.
The City of Hickory was awarded a grant-in-aid from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) in the amount of $100,000 to construct a sidewalk that will connect the SALT (Science, Art, and Literature Together) Block and its arts and cultural attractions to the City Walk, and enhance a pocket park in the Claremont neighborhood, near the SALT Block.
A thousand-foot stretch of five-foot wide sidewalk will be installed along the east side of 3rd Avenue NE, from 3rd Street NE to Main Avenue NE, to promote pedestrian-friendly use of the area in a safe manner that minimizes street crossings of 3rd Street NE. Three new crosswalks will also be installed to promote safe pedestrian access and encourage more activity and crossings in locations that are convenient and appropriate for the public.
The significance of the park is that it acts as a traffic divider to several busy, intersecting streets, and serves as the focal point for residents and visitors, as they travel to or past the SALT Block. This block of the Claremont neighborhood is an attraction for the entire community, as well as travelers and visitors, as they make their way through the area.
The existing area is currently the site of an Adopt-A-Spot project that was completed by a young man as his Eagle Scout project. The project is an aesthetic park, featuring landscaping and an "Arrowhead" monument at the center.
"This area is routinely utilized as a walkway for folks that walk the various loops around Lenoir-Rhyne University, neighborhood residents, 5K race participants, and visitors to the SALT Block," said Representative Jay Adams from the 96th district of North Carolina. "The improvements will increase connectivity between the cultural attractions at the SALT Block and the City Walk, while creating a space that can be enjoyed by all."
A collaborative effort between the City, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and Duke Energy will improve the lighting and landscaping from Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard to Stasavich Place NE, along 7th Avenue. LRU will contribute approximately $72,000 to the project, which will align landscaping design with the City Walk, while improving visibility and pedestrian safety along 7th Avenue and in crosswalks.
"The University is excited to be working with the City of Hickory and Duke Energy to make these much needed improvements. The project will not only enhance the frontage along the LRU campus, it will create further connectivity and improve pedestrian safety along this corridor. We value our partnership with the City of Hickory and the broader community, and look forward to future initiatives," said Dr. Fred Whitt, LRU President.
For more information about the bond projects and other Crafting Hickory projects, please visit www.CraftingHickory.com.