Enhanced walkability among improvements on China Grove horizon

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, January 11, 2023

CHINA GROVE — During its latest regularly-scheduled town council meeting, China Grove officially adopted the Main Street Corridor study, a strategy for enhancing its main thoroughfare.

Through interviews and meetings, town officials mapped out the community-driven vision for future improvements to infrastructure like sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and signalized crossings. While the study is strictly comprised of  recommendations, by officially approving it, the town can start the design phase.

“None of these recommendations is construction level,” said Franklin Gover, China Grove’s assistant town manager. “They are just recommendations, so there may be some shifting, but conceptually, it is solid.”

The recommendations presented to the town council were the culmination of a lengthy planning process that began last year with a block party meeting event to introduce team members while also discussing big-picture ideas and concerns for Main Street.

Town officials from China Grove are part of the team, joined by members of the Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization.

In August, the project team interviewed Main Street business owners and then held a meeting where residents could provide feedback on their priorities and the improvements they would like to see. An online survey was also administered.

Recommendations gathered during this process reflected respondents’ desires to see enhanced safety measures for pedestrians.

By voting to adopt the study, the town officially agreed to let the recommendations steer policy for growth and redevelopment.

Ultimately, the collaborative study identified public priorities of developments that enhance walkability, increase the bicycle networks, improve transportation within the area and support economic and redevelopment opportunities along the corridor.

Town officials determined the study’s recommendations are consistent with China Grove’s land-use plan objective of supporting transportation improvement, pedestrian and bicycle enhancements, and a mixed-use commercial center.

The China Grove Main Street Corridor Planning study includes the corridor along Main Street between US 29 and Coach Deal Road intersection.

The summary of the strategies are divided into geographic sections, which are useful for addressing location-specific concerns that have an increased impact on a particular area.

The three geographic sections include: Segment A, representing U.S. 29 to Liberty Street; Segment B, representing Liberty Street to Stevens Street; and Segment C, representing Stevens Street to Coach Deal Road.

The project’s first phase is expected happen over the next three years. During that phase, the town will continue to pursue grant funding, establish a Main Street Association, and apply for the N.C. Main Street Downtown Associate Community Program.

Mayor Charles Seaford expressed satisfaction that the work could begin on the project’s design elements.

“In 2023, we will get the plan in order and get the engineering done,” Seaford said.

Funding for the project will largely come from a Rural Transformation Grant.