Kannapolis city leaders hope to move forward with revitalization

- It's a city that was hit hard by layoffs and is now looking to bounce back.

Residents say Downtown Kannapolis was a destination in the 1950's and 1960's.

"The streets was always full of traffic, cars parked down both sides of the street, barber shops, which was the gossip center of the town." said Gary Walter.

"This was a very thriving area Cannon Mills ran 3 shifts and it was just busy as can be," said Ron Haithcock.

But more than a decade ago, Cannon Mills textile plant shutdown.

"It just totally transformed the town," said Haithcock.

Businesses moved out, leaving behind empty store fronts.

Downtown looked more like its old self on Saturday, compliments of the Kannapolis Cruise-In. Once the classic cars leave town, so will the crowds.

Kannapolis City Council is working on a plan to keep people downtown, year round. After buying more than $7 million dollars of property, they are now discussing hiring a commercial broker to put together a leasing strategy.

"Our city council is working very hard now and there is a big city plan. Things are about to happen in Downtown Kannapolis. They are once again in control of their destiny," said Walter.

The overall goal is city council is pretty simple. It's to fill dozens of empty store fronts across the city. Residents say it can be done with the right plan.

"The wheels are turning. They have employed a development firm to guide them through. It's just going to be a long term, not an overnight kind of thing," said Haithcock.

While change takes time, Ron Haithcock has a plan of his own.

"It would be nice to see more apartments, businesses and restaurants," he said.

Those type of new developments would come at little to no cost to taxpayers. If a commercial broker is hired by the city, they would be paid through leasing revenue.

City council is still in the discussion stage of hiring a broker. They could take a vote on the matter next month.

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