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What will Kannapolis look like in 25 years?

What will Kannapolis look like on Dec. 11, 2034? That’s 25 years from today, when the city will celebrate its 50th birthday.
The Post asked local leaders to look into the crystal ball and make predictions about what might happen during the city’s next quarter-century.
“I hope that the Research Campus attracts a thousand scientists and their research teams and Kannapolis in 25 years becomes a thriving and vibrant ‘university’ town, much like Princeton, Chapel Hill or Boston.
Loaded with students, young thinkers and perhaps a few older people like myself focused on discovering how to make us healthier and creating the stimulating atmosphere that is unique to great centers of science.”
ó Dr. Steven Zeisel
director of the UNC Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis
“Over the next 25 years I envision that the city of Kannapolis will evolve into a wonderfully diverse community of longtime residents mixed with newcomers from across the world.
I foresee significant improvements in the education levels and skillsets of our workforce, which will cultivate and support the expanding science-based economy. I see the buildout of the North Carolina Research Campus and the Kannapolis Parkway corridor accelerating into incredibly valuable economic engines for the entire Charlotte region.
I predict that the next 25 years will bring about more dramatic changes than the first 100 years of Kannapolis’ history combined. These changes will bring about great opportunities for new wealth and prosperity, which will take our city to new places never before imagined.”
ó Mike Legg
Kannapolis city manager
“The city of Kannapolis and the campus will be larger. Downtown as we know it will not recover to its past vitality. Most shopping will be in the suburbs. The city will have its own city hall and office complex.”
ó Norris Dearmon
Kannapolis historian
“With the influence of the North Carolina Research Campus, Kannapolis will be a vibrant, green and healthy community in 2034. I believe there will be greenways and bike paths throughout the city, and we’ll see shops, restaurants, homes and offices within walking distance of each other.
Education and research will be the cornerstones of our community, and culture and the arts will thrive. In 2034, Kannapolis will be even more diverse than it is now, but the faith, generosity and friendliness of our people will remain and be the foundations that help Kannapolis thrive during its second century.”
ó Dr. Jo Anne Byerly
superintendent for Kannapolis City Schools
“My vision for 2034: Our city preserved and reinvested in the city’s center, where the NCRC has gained worldwide notoriety.
Historic neighborhoods reflect tremendous support for the heritage of the city, while new neighborhoods host a diverse population drawn here by opportunity in the sciences. Employment has boomed in the corporate research centers extending outward to the west.
Investment by city leaders created a walkable, bicycle-friendly environment. The downtown is vibrant and full of life.
Our parkway has become the highest-valued scientific research corporate success story in the nation, helping make North Carolina a hub of science for the 21st century.”
ó Richard Flowe
first Kannapolis city planner and president and CEO of N-Focus Design in Kannapolis
“I hope to see a thriving community filled with businesses and people focused on biotechnology research and development. I also see a continued academic presence on the North Carolina Research Campus ó not only Duke, the UNC system and Rowan Cabarrus Community College, but also several other private universities with varying interests.
Research in health, nutrition and longevity is a growing field, and Kannapolis is poised and ready to be at the forefront of these efforts by providing a ready physical infrastructure that will attract this type of development.”
ó Dr. Ashley Dunham
community project leader for Duke University’s MURDOCK Study in Kannapolis
“Before the development of the North Carolina Research Campus, city leaders had partnered with private businesses to begin new development in excess of $1 billion. The city secured another billion-dollar investment with the campus.
By 2034, the campus will have acted like the world’s largest economic magnet, attracting higher education, scientific and advanced manufacturing resources and jobs to North Carolina.
Research emanating from Kannapolis will have solved some of the world’s nutritional and life sciences problems and will be well on the way to finding solutions to issues of which we are even unaware of today.”
ó John Cox
president and CEO of Cabarrus Regional Partnership



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