30-Day Pilot Demonstration for Businesses at Driver Street and Angier Avenue Intersection
DURHAM, N.C. – Durham residents and visitors will soon see some big changes coming to the Driver Street and Angier Avenue intersection thanks to a new initiative to bring “pop up” businesses in the hope of bringing new economic life to the existing underused storefronts.
The 30-day pilot demonstration, part of the “Build a Better Block with Tootie” initiative, will hold a kick-off event on Saturday, October 27 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Driver Street/Angier Avenue intersection. In the event of rain tomorrow, the alternate date will be Monday, October 29 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday’s event will include multiple opportunities for the community to get involved and support these businesses as well as improve the aesthetics of this intersection with an urban garden and community artwork. During the event, organizers will be bringing in trees and plants to enhance the physical space, setting out tables for eating and engaging in conversation, and providing a space for food truck vendors, retail entrepreneurs, and local artists to pilot their products to nearby residents in East Durham.
To increase the aesthetic vibrancy of the space, organizers will also have a number of painting and art projects for residents and children to participate in. These projects will start Saturday and continue to take place over the next 30 days, both on the exteriors and the interiors of some of the properties. Planned activities will also include painting window scenes, benches, and planters.
According to Constance Stancil, director of the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department, this initiative is a grassroots and resident-led project designed to encourage the local community to actively engage in a storefront build-out process for potential investors and business owners to operate a short-term business in this area before committing to a long-term effort. “A lot of major cities are doing this and adopting these ideas into their ordinances. Not everyone can afford commercial space downtown, so this could be a great way for entrepreneurs to trial-run a business,” Stancil said. “We’re trying to be proactive in our attempts to improve neighborhoods and vacant properties. East Durham residents have continuously asked for reinvestment, especially along the Angier-Driver corridor, and our goal is to help the community create a positive atmosphere in a corridor that already has existing infrastructure and an active community that wants to see great things happen again.”
In addition to the new businesses temporarily locating in this corridor, the community can further participate by providing paint, plants, and volunteers. Residents wanting to participate in Saturday’s activities or donate items for the project should contact Wanona Satcher, neighborhood development specialist with the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department, at (919) 560-1647, ext. 34227 or by email at Wanona.Satcher@DurhamNC.gov.
The “Build a Better Block with Tootie” initiative is supported by the Durham Urban Innovation Center, which is a division of the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Build-a-Better-Block-with-Tootie/222072414587180 or http://betterblock.org.
About the City of Durham Neighborhood Improvement Services Department
The Neighborhood Improvement Services Department works to preserve and improve quality of life conditions for Durham residents, and to encourage active participation in neighborhood redevelopment and public policy and decision making dialogue. The department is responsible for enforcement of quality of life ordinances and state statutes including the City’s Minimum Housing Code; Nonresidential Code; Weedy Lot, Abandoned and Junk Vehicle ordinances; and the State of North Carolina’s Unsafe Building Statute. The department’s rapid responders, known as the Impact Team, remediate non-compliant housing properties; abate public nuisances, such as litter, graffiti, illegal dumping, and abandoned shopping carts; and conduct neighborhood service projects. The department’s Community Engagement staff provides outreach and education to Durham residents and community organizations. Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, the department helps ensure that Durham has thriving, livable neighborhoods by providing the highest quality of services to engage and educate the community, eradicate blight, ensure safer neighborhoods, and enhance neighborhood revitalization. For more information, visit http://durhamnc.gov/ich/cb/nis/Pages/Home.aspx.