Local Stories

Revitalization of Downtown Newton Continues

Newton, NC
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The project represents the largest infrastructure investment in Downtown Newton in generations and is helping the city build its brilliant legacy into a bright future.

Newton is beginning construction on the second phase of the Newton Streetscape Revitalization Project.

The project represents the largest infrastructure investment in Downtown Newton in generations and is helping the city build its brilliant legacy into a bright future.

The project will be completed in phases, and each phase will be completed before the next phase is begun. The second phase of construction is on A Street between the intersections of South Main Avenue and South College Avenue. During construction, which is expected to be completed by the end of the summer of 2020, A Street will be closed to vehicles between South Main Avenue and South College Avenue. A Street will remain open to pedestrian traffic, and access to businesses in the construction area will remain available. This phase of construction includes no intersections, so the impact on vehicle traffic will be limited compared to the first phase of construction.

Each phase of the Newton Streetscape Revitalization Project includes replacement of outdated underground utilities and infrastructure, such as water lines, sewer lines, electric lines, fiber lines and cable lines. Above ground improvements include newly paved travel lanes, bike lanes, and parking; widened paver sidewalks; decorative lights and poles; street trees; benches; and trash and recycle bins.

As part of this phase of construction, Yount Park, which is at the intersection of College Avenue and A Street, will also be significantly enhanced. The park will be doubled in size to allow for a new performance space and greater accessibility. New landscaping and pavers will make the space more inviting to residents and visitors.

City staff are working with contractors and businesses to ensure customers can easily access all affected businesses during construction. Although one block of A Street will be closed to vehicles during this phase of construction, sidewalks on A Street will remain open throughout most of construction. At times when sidewalks must be closed, the street will be open to pedestrians.

There are almost 700 parking spaces in Downtown Newton, and the city has continued to add more public parking spaces during the last three years. As Downtown Newton becomes more robust and a more popular destination for people and new businesses, there is more demand for parking. This is a challenge that every downtown faces as economic growth occurs.

Because of the need for additional parking, the city has transitioned three formerly leased lots into free public parking. These lots—at the corner of B Street and College Avenue (26 spaces), at the corner of 2nd Street and Main Avenue (26 spaces), and on Ashe Avenue at 2nd Street (87 spaces)—opened a total of 139 free public parking spaces. The city continues to find new ways to increase available public parking and enhance the walkability of Downtown Newton.

In an effort to help residents and visitors find parking during construction, the city has created an interactive map that shows the locations of public parking spaces throughout the downtown area. A link to the map is available at www.newtonnc.gov/streetscape. Click the “Where do I park?” link at the top of the page to access the map.

Newton City Council adopted the Newton Streetscape Master Plan in January 2016. The plan was developed after extensive public input through public meetings, online surveys, and one-on-one interviews.

The Newton Streetscape Revitalization Project has progressed into a citywide effort to build on Newton’s brilliant legacy by planning for a bright future of growth and success not just in Downtown Newton, but throughout the entire community.

Construction on the first phase of the project along Main Avenue began in July 2018 and was completed in June 2019. The first phase included the addition of the Frank & Sue Jones Amphitheatre across from the 1924 Courthouse, which is the perfect setting for outdoor concerts and performances. The amphitheatre was funded thanks to a generous bequest from the estate of Sue Jones.

The scheduled completion date for all phases of the project is in the fall of 2021.

By focusing on the heart of the city, people in Newton and surrounding communities have begun to take notice, visit, shop, dine, and take renewed pride in our community. Completed streetscape projects across country indicate that similar municipal investments yield a return in private investment many times larger than the initial municipal investment.

More information and frequent updates about construction progress are available at www.newtonnc.gov/streetscape. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Public Information Officer Alex Frick at africk@newtonnc.gov or 828-695-4266.