Last February, shortly before the start of the pandemic, the City Council met to consider a feasibility study which looked at options for redeveloping the Blue Ridge Corridor as a Municipal Services District (MSD).
Wait, what does that mean?
Municipal Services Districts — also known as Business Improvement Districts — have been around since ~1973, when NC passed a law to help municipalities develop zones where city governments provide additional services (think litter pickup and hospitality) in exchange for slight property tax increases. NC ranks sixth in the nation for MSDs, and Raleigh has two already — Downtown (established in 1996) + Hillsborough Street (established in 2008).
If approved, the Blue Ridge Corridor MSD would be administered by the Blue Ridge Corridor Alliance (BRCA), a group of local stakeholders established in 2014 to facilitate partnerships between the City of Raleigh, NC State, and area residents and business owners.
The long term vision of BRCA is to create more connection and continuity within the Blue Ridge Corridor, to introduce additional mixed-use and entertainment facilities, and to establish the area as a destination district. Additional improvements would include:
- Transportation and infrastructure investment
- Pedestrian access, greenway connectivity, and walkways
- Real estate development and economic diversification
Okay, so where is the Blue Ridge Corridor?
Centered around a 3-mile stretch of Blue Ridge Road in West Raleigh, the corridor is uniquely positioned near major events venues such as PNC, Carter-Finley Stadium, the NC State Fairgrounds, and the NCMA + enjoys close proximity to NC State, Meredith College, Rex Hospital, RDU, and RTP.
Bordered between Edwards Mill Road to the West, Lake Boone Trail to the East, and Western Blvd. to the South, the district comprises four identified sub-districts, defined by the City of Raleigh and BRCA in the feasibility study released last year:
- The Health and Wellness District
- The Arts and Research District
- The Entertainment and Education District
- South of Hillsborough
If I live nearby, how can I get involved?
BRCA meets monthly to discuss initiatives and ongoing vision updates. The strategic plan (view that here) was most recently updated last July, and the City of Raleigh plans to host several community engagement events in the future to collect resident feedback.