PSP Meeting#6 - - Meeting Minutes, Momentum, and Complete Streets

posted Aug 15, 2012, 5:55 AM by Philip Bernard   [ updated Aug 17, 2012, 6:15 AM ]
Approximately 40 people attended the sixth quarterly meeting of the Person Street Partnership 5-6:15pm at our new partner NCAIA's headquarters on Peace Street across from William Peace University another partner in the PSP. This was the first meeting in this new facility within our partnership's target area.
Philip Bernard opened the meeting and thanked NCAIA's Kathie Rainey and David Crawford for hosting and all who turned out for the meeting and continue to support the partnership's efforts. Philip acknowledged the amazing momentum on Person Street and how much has happened in the past year since the partnership was formed. He noted the successful opening and overwhelming reception of Piebird as the first full service restaurant/bar on Person Street.
Person Street - -  Anchors Away!
Philip described how at this time last year, the three primary anchor spots on Person Street were vacant - - the former Super 10 variety store and the boarded up Person Street Plaza on the North End of North Person - -  and the "grassy lot" across from Krispy Kreme at the corner of Person and Peace Streets at the South end. At last year's Holiday open house, thanks to the diligence of property owner James Goodnight and Brian Wallace of York Properties, Rapid Fitness announced their plans to move their downtown gym into the Super 10 location. At our Spring meeting, Chad McIntyre of The Market Restaurant confirmed that they, Escazu Chocolates, and Yellow Dog Bakery would be moving into the Person Street Plaza owned by Hobby and scheduled for renovation mid 2012.
Peace Street Townes:
With two of the three primary anchor spots showing positive movement, Philip was pleased to open the "updates" section of the meeting with exciting news that Roland Gammon of White Oak Properties would be purchasing the "third" and final anchor at the corner of Person and Peace Streets. Gammon plans to build Peace Street Townes, an 18 unit townhome development which has already begun pre-sales. Philip announced that the PSP had already reached out to Gammon who has been receptive to the idea of including a commercial/retail/restaurant component on the highly visible corner of Peace and Person Streets. The new townhomes are also designed for live/work capability with direct access to the street. Ann-Cabell Baum Anderson of the Glenwood Agency stopped by to intorduce herself as realtor for the project and to announce a lauch party for the condos at Tylers Taproom that Thursday evening. She mentioned that two units have already been reserved.
Person Street Plaza:
Philip announced that he had spoken by phone with John Holmes of Hobby Properties who said that the permitting process for the Person Street Plaza was in its final stages and that renovation work on the plaza was scheduled to begin soon. Hobby Properties has also purchased the Lewis-Smith House on Blount Street in Blount Street Commons and plans to use it as their company's main office. 
New Businesses:
Anvil Gallery - - 715A N Person Street owner Becky Wofford-Waehner addressed the group about her new  retail store in Raleigh’s historic Mordecai neighborhood. Anvil showcases the work of local metalsmiths and supports the local community of fine art jewelers and metalworkers. All of the jewelry and metalwork at Anvil is made in the time honored techniques and excellent craftsmanship is one of the values that you will find in every artist represented by Anvil. Becky's studio is in half of the space formerly occupied by Nicole's Studio and Gallery Nicole has moved next door on the corner.
Oak City Cycling Project - -  212 East Franklin Street David Zell sent a report about their new independent cycling shop in Downtown Raleigh focused on increasing bicycle ridership through sales, service, outreach, and community. They service all kinds of bikes and also have community stands for lease to work on your bike anytime during their open hours.He extends an open invitation for riders of all types to come often and share their stories and ideas with them. Their recent event on First Friday attracted over 200 people.
Further Updates:
Former Rosie's Plate location  - - Niall Hanley of Hibernian is currently working out a lease agreement for a neighborhood brasserie.
Bank building on the corner of Pace and Person St - - Seneca 5, an engineering firm and current tenant is moving so that space is available right away. The current property owners are planning to do some landscaping in the near future.
The Raleigh City Farm  has opened its Saturday morning farm stand.  Check their website for farm stand hours.  Lisa Finaldi announced at the meeting that the folks at GreenAmerica are giving away $5K to three green businesses… and, out of 250 businesses across the country, RCF is a top 10 finalist! Your vote could help them win one of their first People & Planet Awards!
Featured Speaker: NCDOT Deputy Secretary of Transit, Paul Morris on "Complete Streets in North Carolina"
In his introduction of Secretary Morris, Philip explained how the partnership had reached out to the Secretary to tell him of our goals for Person Street and how crucial the concept of "complete streets" and the NCDOT's involvement was to  rethinking  the  Person Street area, connecting it to the surrounding neighborhoods, and ensuring  that cars and pedestrians and bicyclists from the surrounding neighborhoods could easily access the Person Street business discrict.
A complete account of Secretary Morris' presentation can be found at the following link at Partnership News:
Please take a few minutes to read this very important presentation about the future our streets in North Carolina and how you can get involved. For more information about "Complete Streets" go to:
Questions for Secretary Morris ranged from a neighbor's skeptism about the NCDOT's inability to change to a "complete streets" mentality to the one way vs two way debate of Person and Blount Streets to more specific technical questions from an avid bicyclist. After hearing Morris' detailed account of the changes going on at NCDOT and their bottom up approach to future projects, it might be difficult for some to recognize the new face of the the NCDOT, but Morris reassured the neighbor that the changes were real and they would be relying on folks at the grass roots level to help them make the changes real and down to earth. As far as the one way vs two way debate, Morris explained that the one way streets were a part of the larger street grid pattern and any changes to the direction of these streets would affect that grid dynamic. He called on Ken Bowers, Deputy Director of Planning with the City of Raleigh to comment and Ken said that the City and the State share responsibility for the city grid which complicates matters. The grid is interconnected and any changes must be made in that context. He continued saying that the City wants to convert one way streets to two way where possible and that the Person Street/Blount Street Wake Forest Road corridor study is kicking off this fall with an outside consultant hired to study the issues of which this will be one. Secretary Morris then agreed to stay after the meeting to answer more questions on an individual basis.
Facade Improvement Initiative for Person Street
Tina Govan, a local neighborhood architect and Carter Pettibone, a planner with the City of Raleigh Urban Design Center presented a brief introduction to an upcoming Facade Improvement Initiative on Person Street. Tina has had a keen interest in the aesthetics and "green" appearance of person Street. She consulted on the design and renovation of the declining barbershop on Person Street and has been working with the partnership to suggest ways that the streetscape and building facades can be updated. She showed specific visual examples of ideas that build on the idea of "outdoor rooms" and creating spaces using "green screens" and other methods to break up the linear streetscpe into places to shop, meet, and hang out.
Carter Pettibone, City Planner with the Urban Design Center, administers the City's facade improvement grant through the Urban Design Center. He spoke about the grant program, its history, and gave examples such as Piebird and other businesses downtown who have taked advantage of the program to improve the outside appearance of their buildings. Carter exppressed the willingness of the Urban Design center to work with Tina and the partnership which includes the business and property owners on Person Street to come up with a workable plan.
Next Steps
Philip closed the productive meeting by thanking the presenters for their very informative presentations. He introduced the concept of the "Mordecai Mile" as being the section of the upcoming Person Street corridor study that begins at Brooksode Drive and ends at Peace Street in the Person Street business district. The Partnership plans to reach out to Secretary Morris and the NCDOT to help in focusing on Mordecai Mile and the rest of the Person Street corridor in an effort to make it a "complete street" that the state can add to its list. He noted that the next quarterly meeting in October would focus on the kick-off of the upcoming corridor study.