If you were asked to define the boundaries of University City, what would you say?
Defining the boundaries of University City can be a tricky business. The answer depends on whom you ask.
District 4 Charlotte City Council member Michael Barnes defines University City as "Everything east of Davis Lake, west of Rocky River Road, south of the Cabarrus County border, north of Hidden Valley (at the weave going north)."
Barnes believes there is not one agreed-upon geographic area for University City, but there probably should be. "Even the media has their own views of what the boundaries are - both print and electronic," he said.
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Mary Hopper, executive director of University City Partners, created in 2003 to brand, promote and advocate for University City's commercial core, said a 2002 Urban Institute study defined the University City trade area "up into southern Cabarrus around Poplar Tent Road, also stopping at Harrisburg.
"To the east in Mecklenburg, it stops at Old Concord Road. To the west, it stops at 77 (so it doesn't go over North Lake). The farthest south it goes inside Charlotte is where it dips down to what was for years termed the weave (29/49 area)."
In addition to that description, Hopper says, "While our branding speaks to that larger University City, the area University City Partners includes in its special tax district is the commercial core - roughly between University City Boulevard, Mallard Creek Church Road and jumping I-85 to include, as of 21/2 years ago, the University Research Park and its commercial fringe."
Freda Lester, commander of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's University City division, describes the University City boundaries for her department as from Plaza Extension to Eastfield Road; Sugar Creek/Mineral Springs Road to Eastfield Road; Harris Boulevard to Brown Road; Brown Road to Prosperity and Prosperity to DeArmon. If that sounds a bit confusing, visit the CMPD's University City division website at www.cmpd.org.
Lester has seen the growth of the University City area for the past few decades. "When I was a college student at UNCC, this area was farmland. To see the growth now is amazing," she said. "We are blessed with people in this community who are engaged and involved in their community and that's what makes the University City area great."
When you define an area, sometimes it's not just about geographical boundaries. Roger Sarow, president and general manager of WFAE, describes University City this way: "I would say it is obviously the home (to) and dominated by the university ... with extensions to intellectual businesses."
Sarow is excited about the dynamic growth of the area. "When I first moved to our offices (near the University Hilton) in 1986, I could see cows grazing outside my window .