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'We want our own identity' | Concord city leaders plan for growth, maintain small-town feel

Unique opportunities are expected to help Concord grow on its own.

CONCORD, N.C. — WalletHub recently ranked Concord, North Carolina in the top 25 fastest growing cities in the country. City leaders say that growth is accelerating.

About 25 miles north of the Queen City, they’re working to make Concord have its own identity, and not just be known as a suburb of Charlotte.

It still has historic charm, but downtown Concord is evolving.

“It's truly amazing the amount of growth we're seeing and we're very fortunate. And we know that,” Steve Osbourne, the Director of Planning and Neighborhood Development for the City of Concord said.

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One example of that is the Cabarrus Center. Right on the main drag of downtown, Union Street, $9 million was invested into the old bank building. Now it's mixed-use; there are residential apartments up top and co-working and meeting spaces on the ground level.

“We are growing we are changing but we really emphasize quality growth,” Osbourne said.

All around the downtown area and in the other corridors there are signs of change. Construction and plans in the works for affordable and workforce housing, greenways and parks, and business opportunities.

“We just don’t want to be a suburb of Charlotte,” Osbourne said. “We want our own identity."

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The main goal: to create a city where people can live, work, and play. City leaders are diversifying the economy, enticing companies to lay down roots so their employees can do the same without having to commute to the big city.

“We want to create our own jobs. We want to create our own places for people to recreate. We want to create our own places for people to enjoy life and not have to leave town every time they need to go eat at a restaurant or need to go to a concert,” Lloyd Payne, the City Manager, said.

A growing city keeping its small-town feel.

“It is the land of opportunity,” Payne said.

Contact Chloe Leshner at cleshner@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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