Business View Civil and Municipal | March 2021

114 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL MARCH 2021 Proudly located in Hickory for 130 years, Lenoir-Rhyne University is a nationally recognized liberal arts university in North Carolina with more than 50 undergraduate majors and more than 30 graduate programs. LR Bears are the heart of this small-college town, and the City of Hickory fosters a thriving community for our students. Learn more at FIND YOURSELF AT LENOIR-RHYNE on the market. Wood acknowledges, “We have available land. We have a very strong water and sewer utility system that is regional, we have great infrastructure. Our city council is very pro growth, and we are focused on three things, growing the population, growing the workforce, and growing our tax base. We have to have quality of life. We have to have housing, and we have to have jobs. We are creating the jobs, so we just need to make sure we are creating housing.” Development in the city’s downtown is another way that Hickory is creating more housing for its residents. The One North Center project is currently underway across the street from City Hall. The mixed-use building will include commercial space for retail and restaurants on the main floor, with 100 apartment units on the five floors above. With many onsite amenities, this upscale development will be the first of its kind in downtown Hickory. A block away, another project under construction includes a 50-unit apartment complex, further meeting the demand for housing in the city. Downtown Hickory’s central business district has a unique variety of shops, eating establishments, and entertainment venues. Among the retail and restaurants are professional office spaces, such as the corporate headquarters of Transportation Insight, whose offices are in a renovated mill in the city core. The scenic, park-like setting of the CBD has seen recent improvements thanks to a $40 million investment in streetscapes and the city’s Union Square. This investment was possible due to a community bond referendum. As Wood explains, “In 2014, the voters passed a $40 million bond referendum which focused on a number of things. One was building a 10- foot wide, multimodal path downtown that you can walk, bike, or jog on. That has generated a tremendous amount of interest and people are buying property along that path. We took the $40 million and leveraged it and got several grants and now we have about $100 million in improvement projects that we’re implementing.