SEDALIA, NC – Sept. 2019
Sedalia, a richly historical Town located midway between Greensboro and Burlington, has served many people as simply a pass-through city on Highway 70. For a place so abundant in character and heritage, local leaders decided that needed to change.
In early 2017, Mayor Howard Morgan, Town Clerk Cam Dungee, the council and the planning board embarked on a long-term downtown streetscape project. The proposed plans, which are shown in detail in this video, will narrow the highway, add sidewalks and roadside trees, create bike lanes, and open up the surrounding land for both community gatherings and future developments. The goal is to express, to both outsiders and the community, that this is not just more highway—this is a North Carolina legacy town.
“We just want to wake up our town. We want it to be beautiful,” said Serita Faison, member of the planning board. “We want when people come through to want to hang around. And we want the people of our town to be comfortable coming out.”
By renovating the corridor, Sedalia envisions a transformation of the road from a highway to a Main Street or, as Faison calls it, “the heartbeat of our town.” At the center of the project is the Charlotte Hawkins Brown museum, a National Historic Site on the soon-to-be redeveloped road near the Sedalia Town Hall.
The redevelopment is in the very early junctures. With support from local officials, the project is now in the funding stages, where Sedalia has experienced some quick success, which includes receiving the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Development Grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce. The first construction phase will focus on the bike and pedestrian paths, and require about half of the full project’s estimated $3 million cost. In full, the town expects the project to take 10 years.
For the community, though, the price tag and wait will be worthwhile.
“Highway 70 is what the world sees when they come through Sedalia,” said Faison. “We want it to represent our town.”