CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - Once considered the gateway to Uptown -- vacant buildings, boarded up windows and outdated signs now line a stretch of Independence Blvd. in East Charlotte giving it a much different feel than when these buildings first went up.
"The town has become a forgotten wasteland of empty strips and empty lots," Sotirios Kotrotsios said.
Kotrotsios helps manage the family owned Chris' Deli. The long-time restaurant and staple in this area.
"I remember growing up we had life on this side of town. We had the mall, We had to Coliseum Shopping Center. We had business thriving up and down Independence Blvd," he said.
Now a group of people are looking to bring life back to that area.
"East Charlotte has had the carrot dangled in our face for decades," said Abby Bopp, President of the Eastway Sheffield Neighborhood Association.
She adds they have secured enough money through private investors that they have more than enough to cover the project as well as any shortfalls.
Up next for the project -- continuing to build momentum and bringing their rezoning proposal to city council.
"I'm confident that we have more than enough time and the ample resources to prove community support and that we can continue to move forward with this. I don't see why this would be a problem for the Independence Corridor, it's not a problem for our neighborhoods, it's not a problem for East Charlotte and from a technological standpoint it would put Charlotte on the map."
More on the project along with the petition the group is pushing can be found here.