The Belmont neighborhood just north of uptown has received a grant to create a “Better Block,” a two-day, pop-up style project that’s meant to showcase better urban design and get residents involved in improving the area where they live.
Organized by the Dallas-based Better Block Foundation, the event is scheduled for Sept. 23 and 24, at the intersection of Belmont Avenue and Harrill Street. It’s the foundation’s first Better Block program in the Carolinas.
The city of Charlotte has awarded the neighborhood a $21,750 grant to pay for the program, which the neighborhood has to match with more than 470 hours of volunteer work. Jason Roberts, head of the Better Block Foundation, visited Charlotte last month to discuss the group’s mission of rapidly building new neighborhood facilities, such as bike lanes and outdoor patio seating for residents, even if it breaks local regulations.
“You can break any rule you want, as long as you wear an orange vest,” Roberts joked.
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Based on initial surveys of residents, ideas for what the Belmont project could feature (temporarily, at least at first) include:
▪ Bus stop shelters
▪ A grocery store or market
▪ Additional retail
▪ A café/restaurant
▪ A coffee shop
▪ A “community living room”
▪ A new mural developed and painted by the community
The neighborhood group plans to finalize their ideas at an Aug. 29 meeting.