Chimney Rock Village Streetscape Phase 1 Begins

We Have Groundbreaking News!

A re-envisioned streetscape provides a “leap forward” of long-needed improvements and upgrades, promising a heightened experience for travelers and a better community for residents in idyllic Chimney Rock Village– the gateway to one of NC’s most treasured State Parks.

On January 21, government, business, and community leaders, along with project planners, commemorated Phase 1 of the streetscape revitalization project, a bold new step that’s been years in the making.

The project will enhance and expand the decades of forethought and hard work that have made Chimney Rock a worldwide attraction for more than a quarter-million visitors every year.

The streetscape plan will draw together the town’s existing structures and spaces into a more cohesive and walkable experience for visitors. Phase 1 of the project will include a new Riverwalk Plaza between the Gem Mine and Bubba O’Learys. This new 1,200-square-foot plaza will provide for new gathering and seating areas, improved access to the Riverwalk along the First Broad River, street trees, lighting, and parallel parking.

“I want to help develop, protect and showcase the abundant natural resources here and protect it so it can be enjoyed forever. We want to build this as a tourism mecca but also protect and preserve the natural beauty, wonders and resources.”

Peter O'Leary, Mayor of Chimney Rock Village

We Have Groundbreaking News!

A re-envisioned streetscape provides a “leap forward” of long-needed improvements and upgrades, promising a heightened experience for travelers and a better community for residents in idyllic Chimney Rock Village– the gateway to one of NC’s most treasured State Parks.

On January 21, government, business, and community leaders, along with project planners, commemorated Phase 1 of the streetscape revitalization project, a bold new step that’s been years in the making.

The project will enhance and expand the decades of forethought and hard work that have made Chimney Rock a worldwide attraction for more than a quarter-million visitors every year.

The streetscape plan will draw together the town’s existing structures and spaces into a more cohesive and walkable experience for visitors. Phase 1 of the project will include a new Riverwalk Plaza between the Gem Mine and Bubba O’Learys. This new 1,200-square-foot plaza will provide for new gathering and seating areas, improved access to the Riverwalk along the First Broad River, street trees, lighting, and parallel parking.

“I want to help develop, protect and showcase the abundant natural resources here and protect it so it can be enjoyed forever. We want to build this as a tourism mecca but also protect and preserve the natural beauty, wonders and resources.”

Peter O'Leary, Mayor of Chimney Rock Village

A convergence of the new Thermal Belt Rail Trail with a revitalizing Main Street, promises to remake Spindale, NC’s, historic downtown.

On November 19th, leaders from across Rutherford County and the State of North Carolina gathered for a socially-distanced celebration of phase one of a new streetscape redevelopment project for downtown Spindale. 

As part of this project, Downtown Spindale, which is positioned immediately opposite the popular Thermal Belt Rail Trail, will receive several new features such as widened sidewalks, street trees and lighting, and new crosswalks linking Main Street to the Rail Trail. The improved streetscape will offer trail users and downtown visitors unparalleled access to the idyllic small-town experience of strolling, shopping, and dining in a historic downtown.

Government, business, and community leaders, along with project planners, are commemorating the beginning of this streetscape master plan that will help preserve the historic integrity and legacy of Spindale while strengthening its economic future.

The project in many ways represents an ideal prototype for revitalizing rural Main Streets by increasing walkability, enhancing connectivity of green spaces to historic districts, and incorporating industrial-era assets into public spaces for commerce and recreation. 

The forward-thinking design for spaces in the center of town will link both east and west sections of downtown and will include repurposing the historic Spindale depot building, across from the main street, into a brewery or retail space. 

Downtown Spindale and the vicinity around the historic Spindale House was once known as the gathering place for all of Rutherford County. The town of Spindale was established around the local textile industry, but since the town’s last mill closure in 1999 the beloved downtown has faced the ongoing challenge of re-establishing itself. Through this innovative approach to rural economic development, the Town hopes to once again reclaim its place as a main street destination in Rutherford County and a center of recreation and commerce for the community. 

Project Status

The Phase 1 Streetscape project, which extends from Nebraska Street to Revely Street, is under construction and will be complete by the first quarter of 2021. This area represents approximately 15 percent of the total streetscape project.

Opportunities for Giving

Multiple phases will be required to complete the entire streetscape master plan, and fundraising and grantmaking efforts continue as the town and community stakeholders work to further realize downtown revitalization efforts.

The Rutherford County TDA is expanding opportunities on the Broad River paddle trail by creating two new public access areas that will allow for comfortable, safe, legal use of the river. The County is now beginning the planning and engineering process for these two access areas.

Access areas located at US 221 and US 221A in the southern portion of the County will provide river users with another user-friendly 4 mile paddle. For more adventurous folks, these sites will create a 14-18 mile trip from the existing Gray’s and Coxe Road accesses.

When complete, the Broad River Paddle Trail will span nearly 41 miles within Rutherford County from Lake Lure Dam/Island Creek Road to the Duke Energy Plant at Cliffside. In order to provide multiple recreational opportunities along the river, public access areas should be spaced at regular intervals to allow use of different sections of the river.

Only two developed public access points currently exist on the trail at Gray’s and Coxe Roads, a 4.8 mile section of the river. Development of additional public river accesses along the trail will provide more accessibility for paddlers, anglers, and other river users, creating a significant natural asset that flows through the heart of Rutherford County

The new US-221 Access Area will be on NCDOT property north of the river, where the US-221 bridge crosses. Public access will be from US-221 South. The project scope will include an approximately 575-foot access road with a turn-around circle, ten vehicle parking spaces, two trailer parking spaces, a kiosk, an entry sign, and river entry steps.

The US-221A Access Area will be located on Duke Energy property north of the river, where the US-221A bridge crosses, 4 miles downstream of the planned US-221 access. Public access will be from US-221A North. The overall project scope will include nine parking spaces, two trailer parking spaces, approximately 300 feet of river access trail, kiosk, entry sign, and river entry steps. 

With funding support from the Duke Energy Foundation, RHI Legacy Foundation, NC Department of Environmental Quality, and the federal Recreational Trails Program, and general support from Duke Energy, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, NC Department of Transportation, and Rutherford Outdoor Coalition

The Broad River Paddle Trail project will provide visitors with additional outdoor recreation opportunities in combination with the other natural assets in the County. It will also provide health and wellness, environmental awareness, economic impact, and quality of life benefits for residents.

The Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority and local leaders have worked for nearly two years to develop a vision for improving the quality of life infrastructure to meet the new economy's demands. The Rutherford Bound Master Plan outlines a bold vision for community revitalization, streetscape investments, and a destination-quality system of greenways, trails, and parks. These elements are not mere "wants." We must make critical investments as a community to ensure Rutherford County can effectively compete for visitors, new business and industry, and a talented workforce.

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