This year’s North Carolina Downtown Development Association (NCDDA) Large Cities Forum was held in downtown Wilmington and hosted by WDI President and CEO, John Hinnant. Downtown development representatives from Greensboro, Winston Salem, Greenville, Durham, Burlington, Cary, Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, and Raleigh participated in this two-day event.
A dinner was held at a popular downtown bistro Wednesday night, followed by a nightlife walking tour led by John Hinnant. Everyone took this opportunity to share ideas and discuss their challenges and successes associated with managing nightlife in their downtowns.
A meeting was held Thursday morning to discuss the priorities and overall purpose for NCDDA. Next, Dr. Seth Grossman led a discussion on the profession of business district management, and explained how downtown managers can use the Rutgers University’s online degree program to their advantage. Raleigh’s Clean & Safe Ambassador Program was also discussed, and Captain Kevin Craghead gave an update on the recent crackdown on violence in downtown Raleigh. Thanks to recent department efforts, both the number of weapons being seized and violent crimes have been reduced. In addition to these efforts, the number of DWIs has also gone down.
The forum ended with a discussion led by Dan Howe, Raleigh’s Assistant City Manager, on how local governments and downtown organizations can assist each other with identifying creative financing options to improve downtown areas.
By Luke Edwards, WDI Intern