The once sleepy fishing village of Shallotte has dreams, of its past, it present and its future. And it is tying them all together. The town’s population increased by 166 percent from 2000 to 2010, a time that saw both residential and retail development boom in the Brunswick County town. More recently, the town and its residents have been building from that growth by creating amenities that will continue to make it an attractive location for people looking for a piece of coastal living for years to come.
One example is Mulberry Park, a recently developed 10-acre space with playgrounds, a large amphitheater for live music, a green clearing for farmer’s markets and a vibrant community garden. Daily, the park welcomes crowds of families and kids, and concerts often draw hundreds.
The town has also worked with the UNC School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative on a study of its market potential, a move that is paying dividends by helping to continue to attract business.
The next step: a riverfront revitalization and riverwalk project that – though still in the planning stages – promises to connect the community’s early origins as a place dependent on the water and fish that lived there with its present as a booming center of residential and retail growth. The town has purchased 20 acres with the idea of establishing a riverwalk to enhance its Central Business District as the economic, civic and cultural core of the community. The plan calls for 400,000 square feet of retail, multi-family residential, office and hospitality space, with the development hinging on work with a private developer or developers.
Once successful, the riverfront will again by a center of public activity, and a local natural resource will be key to driving the local economy.