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'It’s wonderful' | Kannapolis takes strides to revitalize its downtown

The town continues its resurgence after being dealt what many considered to be a death blow when the Cannon Mill shutdown at the turn of the century.

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — It seems everywhere you look in downtown Kannapolis, you see one of several things, construction projects, completed construction, or future construction.

There are many new businesses recently opened or opening much to the delight of longtime residents.

“It’s wonderful, to see all of this in this part," Agnes Miller said as she walked along Fourth Street. “I’ve lived here for about 22 years, this is good to see what’s going on here. We needed it." 

The town continues its resurgence after being dealt what many considered to be a death blow when the Cannon Mill shutdown at the turn of the century.

“Yeah, we heard about that," Keith Wray, who was out early for his morning walk in downtown Kannapolis, said. 

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Kannapolis is his current hometown. He grew up in Gloucester England, but also spend eight years living in Charlotte. 

“We wanted to move to a place that was a little quieter, but still with a lot to do," he said.

Kannapolis has experienced a revitalization in the downtown area in the area of Atrium Health stadium, which was an intentional move made by town leaders years ago. The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers were already an established single-A team. 

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“This ballpark has been a game-changer for the downtown community,” Vince Marcucci, who became the assistant General Manager of the Cannon Ballers said just as they were breaking ground on the new stadium.

“This took years of planning long before I got here," he said. "The city met with each other they did economic development studies, they try to figure out which different projects and which ankle projects to rebuild the downtown and they settled on a baseball stadium.”

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The plan is working as there are more than a half dozen other projects planned in the coming months, including an entertainment venue that is next to the stadium.

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There are also two projects set to be built right outside the stadium on property owned by the Cannon Ballers. A hotel and apartment building. Marcucci said Kannapolis is looking forward while never forgetting its past.

“It’s something that this community went through, a long time struggle obviously that was the lifeline of the community. It’s something that still means it’s on to our community," he said. 

Contact Richard DeVayne at rdevayne@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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