At the Thursday meeting of the Hickory Rotary Club, Andrea Surratt, club member and Assistant City Manager for the City of Hickory, spoke to the club about a recent Hickory initiative. The plan is called Inspiring Spaces, which will help to chart the course for improvements in the public spaces that will bring about revitalization in many areas of Hickory. It communicates Hickory’s brand message of Life. Well Crafted and is a key tool for economic development.
Businesses and entrepreneurs seek communities that are well maintained and aesthetically pleasing. Hickory has made significant investment in its public spaces over the years with parks, greenways, Union Square, the S.A.L.T. Block, landscaped intersections on Highway 70 and in downtown. The plan for Inspiring Spaces will seek to make strategic investments in Hickory through a capital improvements plan over the next 10 years.
In 2011, the Hickory City Council visited leaders from five southeastern cities to learn how those communities are successfully transitioning to new economic realities. The themes emerging from the success stories included the importance of public investment in the public spaces of their city, the benefit of private/public partnerships, focusing on economic development and redevelopment, providing venues and programming for outstanding special events, and engaging the philanthropic community for their support of activities and projects that will enhance the city.
Since those visits, the City of Hickory has been working with Land Design to develop a comprehensive list of projects that will improve the appearance of Hickory. Land Design is working with the Inspiring Spaces Committee and City staff to identify a list of potential projects and to prepare the plan. The City has been engaged in a city-wide community input process that will give the City staff and designers feed-back from citizens and stakeholders about what improvements they would like to see. From this feedback and other work, Land Design will develop a list of construction projects, their associated costs and implementation schedule for improving the appearance and functionality of streets, parks and public areas of Hickory.
The Inspiring Spaces Plan will address streetscape, urban design, parking and associated landscaping, bike and pedestrian linkages, greenways, site furnishings, public art, and gateways. It is a city-wide planning process that will provide a framework for prioritizing improvements to the public infrastructure and properties that will improve and promote Hickory as a welcoming and vibrant destination, as well as a thriving place to work, live and play.
For more information view the City of Hickory Inspiring Places PDF.