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A major component of the Kannapolis Downtown Revitalization Plan is the replacement of infrastructure and the related streetscape improvements planned for West Avenue and the surrounding streets. The Kannapolis City Council recently approved Phase One of the project which will begin this month.

Phase One components include:

• Removal of overhead power lines and installation of new underground electricity ductwork from Vance Street to Laureate Way and Main Street to Oak Street/Chestnut Avenue.
• Demolition of the former K-Town Furniture Building which is the future site of the sports and entertainment venue.
• Measures to protect trees on West Avenue as well as the removal of certain trees which have aged and are unhealthy.
• Construction fencing.
• Restriping of various streets and parking lots which will not be part of the construction zone in order to maximize parking availability during the construction phase.

The components of Phase One will begin in August and will be led by the Barton Malow Company. The cost is estimated to be $2,486,662. The Phase One work will be completed by January 2018 when Phase Two of the project is slated to start. Phase Two is the actual construction of all streetscape and infrastructure improvements.

Over the past year city staff has been working with the Development Finance Initiative, associated with the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Land Design, Inc. to develop a dynamic streetscape plan that includes unique green space, outdoor dining and social hubs, maintains traffic flow and parking options, encourages pedestrian activity, provides interaction between businesses downtown and preserves the historic core of the City.

“The streetscape is critical to creating an experience for people who will both live and play in our City. It will serve as a significant urban park. While it is an outdoor space it is really our City’s living room and we want everyone to feel welcome and to spend time here,” commented Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. “We have one shot at this. We have to look at this as a long-term asset. We are envisioning how the City will be built out years from now.”

While the most visible piece of the project will be the streetscape, the most important and complex part of the project is the infrastructure. Everything from water, sewer, natural gas, electricity, stormwater, wi-fi, other technologies and more have to be taken into consideration and planned for. What will residents and businesses of the downtown need in ten, twenty and thirty years? The plan is intricate and involves many professionals in order to coordinate, design and engineer the infrastructure beneath the streetscape.

The City has been planning for the infrastructure improvements for many years and included these projects in the City’s Capital Improvement Plan. The funds needed will be borrowed and paid for through the sale of bonds.

Moody's Investors Service upgraded the City’s revenue bond rating for water and sewer projects from A2 to A1 in 2015. This means the City will pay less interest as the bonds are paid off. It is also an indication of the City’s strong economic health.

Moody’s cited the City’s growth in new businesses and homes, the improving economy, the expansion of the North Carolina Research Campus and the campus’ positive impact on the City’s economy as well as the City’s potential to attract new businesses in the future as reasons for the upgrade in the bond rating. 

Click here to view the streetscape slideshow.