CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- While some communities have turned to their faith, others have turned to construction in an effort to clean up their neighborhood. Johnson C. Smith University has partnered with the city and neighbors and now they have revitalization underway.
Thelma Byers-Bailey represents the Lincoln Heights neighborhood off Beatties Ford Road just down from JCSU, and like much of this area it's struggled over the years.
"Revitalizing this community is bringing it back to what it used to be," said Byers- Bailey. "It's important to us because we don't plan to go anywhere. This is home."
Neighbors said JCSU has been crucial in helping take their community back, like partnering with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation to build a new playground and community garden. Now they're excited about the Mosaic Village being built.
"That draws all the attention of Charlotte to what we have to offer," added Byers-Bailey.
Mosaic Village is 7,500 square feet of retail and restaurants as well as apartments above for some 300 students.
Senator Malcolm Graham has been working with JCSU on the West Trade Street corridor and says this is just one of the many projects they have in store.
“We launched in April the I-77 Neon Light Project, which welcomes everyone into the West Trade Street corridor. With the Arts and Science Counsel last year we opened the Arts Factory," noted Senator Graham.
And they say revitalization will continue, which makes neighbors like Bailey feel optimistic again.
"We deserve to have it back. We deserve to feel that way about our community again and for it to be as safe and vital and thriving as it once was," Byers-Bailey noted.
Senator Graham said they're hopeful this project will be complete by August—definitely before the DNC is their goal. Then they'll continue with the next project, hoping to get the street car to come down West Trade Street.