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South End Community Workshop

“Great public spaces are where celebrations are held, social and economic exchanges take place, friends run into each other, and cultures mix. They are the “front porches” of our public institutions – libraries, field houses, neighborhood schools – where we interact with each other and government. When the spaces work well, they serve as a stage for our public lives.” – Project for Public Spaces

On Wednesday, December 7th approximately 60 South End residents, business owners, city and county staff and Charlotte Center City Partners staff gathered at the Charlotte Art League for a Community Workshop. The goal was to get input about South End from South End; the local experts who live, work and play on a daily basis.

Jose Gamez, Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at UNC Charlotte, along with several of his graduate students, facilitated the placemaking workshop. We had 4 main focus areas and each of the 8 tables took 2 areas to concentrate their efforts. The 4 main areas were 1)South Blvd, 2) S. Tryon St, 3)Light Rail/Camden Rd and 4) S Mint/Summit Ave area. The two basic questions were asked, “What do you like about this place?” and “What about this place should be improved?”

Each table selected their top three recommendations and presented them to the larger group. All of the feedback was recorded and if you scroll past the pictures you can see what was shared.

Next steps: If you weren’t able to attend the workshop, you will still have an opportunity to share some input. We will put together a short survey to send out via email so we can add your thoughts to those already gathered.

In January we will have a group of national experts join our local experts along with city and county staff to work together to provide recommendations for the future development and growth of South End. We have an existing South End Station Area plan, which has been key to the development we have seen thus far; however, with any plan, it is always good practice to reevaluate based on the progress and existing conditions.

The recommendations from the national experts will be vetted through South End residence and business owners and a final presentation of all recommendations will be given in March.

Special thank you to everyone who came out and participated in the Community Workshop. If you have any questions please let me know (Ted Boyd, tboyd@charlottecentercity.org).

Enjoy the images and feedback below.


Table 1 

South Tryon

  1. Disconnect with South End and Uptown near Tryon and Morehead and less parking as it is an eye sore
  2. More mixed use development which is affordable for local/grassroots development.
  3. More attention paid to South End as a whole – infill in areas, face lift to undesirable/unappealing areas.


  1. Lacks development, something needs to be done with the space.
  2. More connectivity to South End – doesn’t feel like it’s a part of the area.
  3. Lacks character in design and development which means there is nothing to draw you to the space.

Table 2

South Boulevard

  1. Encourage businesses to come here. Incentives, more diverse set of businesses.
  2. High cost of real estate. Too many condos (apartments) not affordable.
  3. Expand beyond 9-5. Bring in restaurants, music. Walkability.

Light Rail/Camden

  1. Light Rail needs to step it up. It’s a commuter rail. No awareness, signage, advertising.
  2. How do we integrate Light Rail into the community? Trolley/bus à Dilworth

Table 3

South Tryon

  1. Slow traffic down
  2. Address undeveloped land w/ small retail pockets – grocery store, entertainment/nightlife, start-up businesses, art galleries/studios.
  3. Add green space and other public spaces.


  1. Brand the area as an innovative housing district with mixed income housing, new design, and plenty of green space.
  2. Create a “sidewalk district” that is pedestrian friendly with retail and entertainment.
  3. Assist Charlotte Pipe & Foundry with a move and redevelop the land.

Table 4

South Boulevard

  1. South Boulevard more walkable. Safety. Road diet?
  2. Retail/boutique shopping. Encourage Uptown visitors [to go] “Downtown.” Concierge.
  3. Green space and open space.

Light Rail/Camden

  1. Festivals (art and food). Consistent.
  2. “Brand” 2 main rail stops to Uptown visitors. Bland St Station and East/West. Pamphlets, not just sign.
  3. Ease of parking.

Table 5

South Tryon

  1. Establish variety of green spaces, public gathering, and common spaces within and throughout South End. Both open and urban defines spaces. Multiple uses and locations since South End is a linear place.
  2. Improve connections to existing Wilmore neighborhood. There is much existing fabric and density that could feed into and partner with South End uses and needs.
  3. Provide necessary neighborhood services. Establish grocery store central to South End/Wilmore neighborhoods for basic service uses and needs and improve community connections.


  1. Expand and establish Mint St as center for supply and wholesale. Use existing block fabric to improve connections. Use existing ____ system and establish iconic buildings from within existing fabric.
  2. Establish Mint as sub-center of South End. _____ as “working” area, service area, and provide needed services for day workers.
  3. Establish district identity from Light Rail, South Blvd, Camden corridors for Mint St.

Table 6

South Boulevard

  1. Adding identity zones (sub-districts). Each can stand on its own. Intentional, not accidental. Color.
  2. Beak up land ownership. Village feel around Camden.
  3. Safety issues with crossing the road. Pedestrian level. Easy to get around. High traffic area difficult to cross.

Light Rail/Camden

  1. Pedestrian connectivity – end of Kingston.
  2. Keep uniqueness in Camden area. Public arts.
  3. Destinations – nodes. Parks.

Table 7

South Tryon

  1. Centralized park.
  2. Smaller development support.
  3. Sidewalks on Camden and Tryon (widen). S. Tryon changed to 2 lanes w/ on-street parking. Continue E. Blvd through W. Blvd to Mint?


  1. Retail starting down W. Summit.
  2. Buildings that can be repurposed for future as demographics change.
  3. Small artist studios < 1000 sq ft, not just retail and office.

Table 8

South Boulevard

  1. More on-street parking.
  2. More pedestrian-friendly access all over (surrounding neighborhoods and parking areas).
  3. More infill/investment/businesses – residential space.

Light Rail/Camden

  1. Attract/incentivize development. Infill residential/retail.
  2. Specialty grocery.
  3. Keep it pedestrian friendly, safe day and night.



  1. Pingback: South End Community Survey « historic south end - December 27, 2011

  2. Pingback: Second Phase of South End Workshop This Week « historic south end - January 9, 2012

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