The has announced a $1.5 million grant in support of a new business improvement initiative in Charlotte, North Carolina.
To be led by , the initiative aims to increase economic opportunities in the city's Historic West End neighborhood and includes a planned investment of $20 million over the next five years through the city's Comprehensive Neighborhood Improvement Program. The largest driver of new opportunities will be the CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar, a $160 million project scheduled to be completed in 2019 that will link the West End to Charlotte's thriving Uptown neighborhood. To boost economic activity along the Gold Line corridor, Charlotte Center City Partners will host events, create public awareness campaigns, recruit businesses and retailers, and lead efforts to attract private investment. The initiative also will support strategic recommendations outlined in the and the .
Other supporters of the initiative include the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, the Northwest Corridor Council of Elders, and , which is located in the Historic West End.
"The Gold Line streetcar will create a physical link between Charlotte's diverse neighborhoods and the city center," said Susan Patterson, Charlotte program director for the Knight Foundation. "The business improvement initiative can leverage this power to connect to make Charlotte more successful. By igniting small businesses and diverse ideas, it will help foster economic growth in the corridor, create spaces where diverse groups [of] people can come together, and encourage young talent to live and stay in the city."