Where Do We Stand? An interview series about East Side Issues: Mary Newsome

By Helene Hilger

This month I sat down with Ms. Mary Newsom, Associate Director of Urban and Regional Affairs at UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute, to hear her thoughts on where she saw the East Charlotte’s heading – did she see us on the upswing or in decline? Ms. Newsome has a long history following regional urban and suburban development and has written several times on the fall and rise of the Eastland Mall site.

Not surprisingly, she had no definitive answer for me, explaining that our neighborhoods are too disparate to be changing together. Some areas (Plaza Midwood and NoDa) are struggling with gentrification while others see little sign of new economic development. She noted that changes moving down Central Avenue from Plaza Midwood would continue as homebuyers seek housing affordability close to uptown. But she characterized the more distant suburbs as suffering from the “laisse faire” development of their time (1970’s and 1980’s) – a period when zoning was weak and the home architecture (brick ranches) and commercial buildings (think vacant Pizza Huts) did not have much “character” as they aged. Nevertheless, she predicted that affordable housing prices will spur the popularity of the “far east” sectors within a decade.

As for Eastland, Ms. Newsom expects it to develop incrementally rather than with a single large project. However, she qualified the prediction by saying that change might move quickly if, for example, a developer offered us a unique urban neighborhood plan unlike anything else in Charlotte. She noted the remarkable success of our many small business owners and entrepreneurs and pointed to the many thriving enterprises along Central Avenue that emerged from the sweat equity of immigrant entrepreneurs. Most of those businesses, she explained, were not started with loans but with money gleaned from years of saving – and they are succeeding and expanding. They are the seeds from which more robust growth will occur.

I asked Ms. Newsom how we could spur and support strategic growth and development in more East side neighborhoods. She suggested that it is up to us to build on our assets and play up our “cool factor.” We host many interesting international restaurants, and we can expand our “cool” by luring new entities such as coffee shops, bakeries, art shops and other venues that bring the adventurous to our neighborhoods. She cited E.A.S.T. Charlotte’s annual Taste of the World as a good example of such promotion. Another strategy she mentioned was the use of “tactical urbanism,” where temporary events (e.g. a pop-up plaza and street fair) create festive and novel gathering places. The community-building that results spurs new cohesion and activism that makes a sector more vital and interesting.

Ms. Newsom explained that one of Charlotte’s key neighborhood challenges is finding influential champions. The lack of such champions creates a “power vacuum” that makes it hard to move projects such as the revitalization of Eastland and other East Charlotte sectors forward. In the end, Mary reminded me, “Big projects don’t save neighborhoods. Neighborhoods save neighborhoods. You have to work it out.” In sum, the take-away from our conversation is that it will be up to East siders to organize ourselves through E.A.S.T. Charlotte, the Harris Coalition, and neighborhood organizations that will catalyze the East side changes we hope to see.

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Taste of the World 2016 Event Schedule & Information

TOTW_LogoWe are excited to host you for Taste of the World 2016 on THIS THURSDAY October 6, 2016!

To help ensure a successful event please take note of the following important information:

TICKET: Your PayPal Receipt is your ticket. Print and bring your receipt and ID with you. Please have your entire party register at the same time if you purchased tickets for a group.

RUSH TICKETS: There may be a limited number of RUSH tickets available for CASH ONLY on the day of the event. Please check with the regisration table.

PARKING: Plan ahead and give yourself enough time to park and arrive on time to the VanLandingham Estate Inn & Conference Center
Event parking is available at the following locations:
1) Limited, on-site parking at The VanLandingham Estate
2) International House, 1817 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
3) Midwood Baptist Church, 2029 Mecklenburg Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
4) Grassy Lot adjacent to Segen Food Mart on The Plaza, between Mecklenburg Ave. & Mimosa Ave.
5) Plaza Presbyterian Church
6) The Vine UMC – Back parking lot only, off of Chambwood Dr.

4:30 PM
Taste of the World Opens
Historic VanLandingham Estate Inn & Conference Center
2010 The Plaza, Charlotte NC 28205
Registration Begins
All tickets MUST be claimed between 4:30 and 5:45 PM
Pre-Event Cocktail Reception until 5:45 PM
Performance by The Kindreds; Rick Bouley and Tom Hanchett, Sweet Old Songs & Fiddle Tunes.
Musicians Phil Singer and Marc Lees
Event ticket includes (1) Complimentary Beverage
Cash Bar will be available

5:30 PM
Last call for Cash Bar & Complimentary Beverage

5:45 PM
Registration Ends
Guests Begin Boarding Tour-Guided Buses to Depart for Restaurant Visits

5:55 PM
Rush Ticket Registration Ends
Guests Begin Boarding Tour-Guided Buses to Depart for Restaurant Visits

6:00 PM
Tour-Guided Buses Begin Departing The VanLandingham Estate

6:30 PM – 8:45 PM
Restaurant Visits
Guests Visit Three International Restaurants for Three Fabulous Sample Courses

8:45 PM – 9:15 PM
Dessert & Coffee Reception
Guests Enjoy Dessert & Coffee at The VanLandingham Estate
Musical Performance by Patabamba
Special Guest Speaker Senator Jeff Jackson (NC)
Prize Drawings

Accessibility:
Special handicap drop off located at The VanLandingham Estate side entrance off of Belvedere Ave.
Anyone that has special accessibility needs, please contact Billy Maddalon at (704) 806-1721 or (704) 334-8909 to arrange for any needed accommodations.

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The Most Interesting Street in Charlotte – Central Ave

central-aveCivic By Design: “The Most Interesting Street in Charlotte”
Tuesday October 11, 5:30pm – 7pm FREE
At Midwood International Cultural Center, 1817 Central Avenue, Charlotte 28205

What do Family Dollar, novelist Carson McCullers (Heart is a Lonely Hunter), evangelist Billy Graham and the rock band REM have in common? All trace their early history to Central Avenue. Community historian Dr. Tom Hanchett explores those stories and looks at the avenue’s international landscape today.

Meet at Light Factory photo gallery 1817 Central Avenue, take a quick tour of the Midwood International Cultural Center, then join Dr. Hanchett in the auditorium.

Sponsored by CIVIC BY DESIGN, a monthly forum on community growth, architecture and planning. Co-sponsored by Levine Museum of the New South and HistorySouth.org. info@civicbydesign.com 704.577.5103

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Global Table Culinary Walking Tour October 22, 2016

Taste of the World 2016 is sold out but don’t fret, you can still enjoy the culinary treasures of East Charlotte with the Global Table Culinary Walking Tour. This tour for adventurous foodies explores 10 culturally rich businesses located along North Sharon AmityRoad and Central Avenue. The owners will share stories and flavors of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. You’ll see kitchen tools, ingredients and cooking techniques from around the world while sampling cherished, sometimes ancient recipes. Click for tickets.

global-table-10-16

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Taste of the World is Charlotte’s Hottest Ticket this Fall

TOTW_LogoTaste of the World is October 6, 2016 and tickets are on sale now! This sell-out event is one of Charlotte’s most celebrated fall events. Tickets are going FAST!

Taste of the World 2016 is a food tour of more than 25 restaurants representative of countries across the globe all located within beautiful east Charlotte. The four-hour event including a two-hour restaurant tour takes guests on a culinary expedition of the locally owned food establishments throughout east Charlotte’s International District. Registration will begin at 4:30 PM, with activities continuing until 9:30 PM.

Participants in the Taste of the World festivities are welcomed at The VanLandingham Estate Opening Reception and Registration with live music, drinks and tours of the Estate and Gardens. Guests are assigned to one of a variety of coach tour buses. Each bus is staffed with knowledgeable volunteer Community Guide who points out fun and historic information and facts along the route. Guests will enjoy a special selection of food samplings at three selected locations from among the participating restaurants. Each location represents the varied cuisine, culture, history, character and personalized story unique to each restaurant. Upon return of the dining tours to The VanLandingham Estate, guests gather for a delicious dessert reception with live music, festivities and prizes.

 

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Taste of the World Volunteer Appreciation Event August 7

TOTW_LogoTaste of the World is Oct 6 – quickly approaching! (Do you have your tickets yet? They’re selling fast!)

The event couldn’t happen without an army of dedicated volunteers. We invite volunteers from years past and folks who think they’d like to be a volunteer this year to a volunteer reception this Sunday, August 7.

Taste of the World Volunteer Reception

Sunday, August 7, 2016

2:30pm to 4:00pm

The VanLandingham Estate

2100 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC 20205

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Taste of the World 2016 Tickets are On Sale Now!

TOTW_LogoTaste of the World 2016 tickets are on sale now!

Taste of the World 2016, a food tour of more than 25 restaurants that are representative of countries across five continents all located within beautiful east Charlotte. The four-hour event including a two-hour restaurant tour takes guests on a culinary expedition of the locally owned food establishments throughout east Charlotte’s International District. Registration will begin at 4:30 PM, with activities continuing until 9:30 PM.

Participants in the Taste of the World festivities are welcomed at The VanLandingham Estate Opening Reception and Registration with live music, drinks and tours of the Estate and Gardens. Guests are assigned to one of a variety of coach tour buses. Each bus is staffed with knowledgeable volunteer Community Guide who points out fun and historic information and facts along the route. Guests will enjoy a special selection of food samplings at three selected locations from among the participating restaurants. Each location represents the varied cuisine, culture, history, character and personalized story unique to each restaurant. Upon return of the dining tours to The VanLandingham Estate, guests gather for a delicious dessert reception with live music, festivities and prizes.

 

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Charlotte TREES Community Meeting 7/28 and Online Survey

TreesAnnouncing: Community meeting on Thursday, July 28th at 6:30 to get feedback on Charlotte’s trees. The meeting will be held at Amity Presbyterian Church – 2831 N. Sharon Amity Road. Complete the survey that is open online until July 30th at http://charlottenc.gov/trees. Click on the image for a PDF of the flyer.

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Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at Simmons YMCA in September

 

Simmons YMCA will offer Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class in September.

The class will be open to anyone in the community. Space is limited to 20 people and is on a first come, first served basis. Reach out to the contact below for more information.

FPU

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