By: Ivey Schofield, The News Reporter
The City of Whiteville held its second community meeting on Tuesday to hear input from the residents over its downtown revitalization plan. Based on feedback from the October meeting, WithersRavenel, the civil engineering firm, came back with two options, separated by the northern, central and southern parts of Madison Street.
“The main idea for tonight is to condense all the input we received at the last meeting into two plans and then go from there,” said Sean Martin, the city’s economic development director.
Due to Gov. Cooper’s recent restrictions on indoor gatherings, the city limited the number of people able to enter the conference room at the same time. In council chambers, maps showed Madison Street in sections, northern, central and southern, for people to view with a Plan A and Plan B for each. It highlighted the changes, along with potential improvement projects.
A roundabout would replace stoplights at Franklin, Lee and Madison streets. Looking north on Madison, notice one option - a tree-lined median.
“We try to take a few people, walk them through [the stations] and ask them to fill [a survey] out,” said Brian Starkey, director of parks and recreation at WithersRavenel, adding that residents who did not attend the meeting can also fill out a digital survey at whitevillenc.gov/downtownmasterplan.
The main aspects of Option A are as follows:
a small roundabout at the Columbus Street intersection
parallel parking on both sides
retainment of stoplights in current positions
retainment of existing sidewalk width
roundabout with potential retention ponds at Lee and Franklin street intersections
addition of street trees in panels
central median south of Pecan Street
addition of a town square at Main Street
Option B includes:
a large roundabout at Columbus Street intersection
four-way stops, instead of traffic signals
parallel parking on only west side of street
expanded sidewalks width
area for stormwater management at Lee and Franklin streets
addition of a street treescape
One option is a town square on the railroad plaza. Both segments of East and West Main streets would be one way to double the amount of parking. In other options, parking would be eliminated on one side of Madison to allow for wider sidewalks.
One of the attendees, Sarah Thompson, was writing additional notes on the survey to give to the city. “There are some things I like on each one and some I don’t like,” she said. “I think there are good points on both ideas.”
Overall, Thompson was happy about the revitalization options. “I’m excited to see some progress,” she said. “We’re looking forward to this.”
Starkey and Martin noted that, with an attendance of around 30 residents, the most popular aspects on Tuesday were the town square at Main Street and the installation of roundabouts.
Martin added that the city and the engineering firm will discuss input made from this meeting to come up with a final draft in January. After the final draft’s completion, members of the community can express their opinions on the final draft at the city council meeting.
“There still will be time for tweaks,” Martin said.