300 hear goals at eastside meeting

More than 300 eastside residents gathered Tuesday for a neighborhood meeting that could signal a new beginning for the Independence Boulevard corridor.

Last April the Charlotte City Council approved a $400,000 study aimed at bringing the area back to life. Once a regional commercial destination, much of the area has now fallen into disrepair.

Representatives from Glatting Jackson, the firm hired by the city, spent much of Tuesday night's meeting at The Park, formerly the Charlotte Merchandise Mart, explaining what they hoped to accomplish with the study. Some of their goals: promoting investment in the area and addressing problems with the Independence Boulevard transitional setback.

Many have blamed the setbacks, which prevent new development close to Independence, for the slow death of the area. Officials have conceded something needs to be done.

Tuesday's meeting was the first of three planned through the end of the year, the last one coming just before the consultants deliver the finished report to the council in February 2009. Glatting Jackson also worked with the Charlotte Area Transit System on its light-rail station plans.

“I believe this study is the beginning of a turnaround for the eastside,” said council member Nancy Carter, who represents much of the area.

“I see good things ahead for us.”