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City of Gastonia gets $10K grant to turn traffic signal cabinets into public art

The goal is to continue boosting downtown revitalization projects.

GASTONIA, N.C. — Visitors to Gastonia's downtown area may soon see public art in a new place, but it won't be a massive sculpture or large mural.

Instead, the city government will be giving the otherwise plain traffic signal cabinets a splash of color.

ElectriCities of North Carolina, a membership organization for municipally-owned electric utilities, awarded the city with one of four $10,000 grants for the project. The cabinet makeovers are part of the city's downtown revitalization goals and will happen thanks to a partnership with both the North Carolina Department of Transportation and Keep Gastonia Beautiful

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“This project reimagines traffic signal control cabinets as a blank canvas filled with a creative opportunity for the entire community to enjoy,” said Gastonia City Manager Michael Peoples in a statement Thursday.

Eight traffic control cabinets in the downtown area will get colorful wraps, each featuring an eye-catching design. The goal is to help the area continue to stand out by showcasing what makes Gastonia unique.

"Along with serving as a great place-making tool, this project enables us to continue supporting the priorities we’ve outlined in our Economic Development Strategic Plan," Peoples said.

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ElectriCities awards competitive Downtown Revitalization Grants twice each year to its members in the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) and in North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1 (NCMPA1). The grants must be used for projects aimed at downtown revitalization approved by the city or town manager or chief executive.

“Study after study has shown that a thriving downtown is key to a thriving community,” said Carl Rees, ElectriCities Manager of Economic and Community Development. “Helping fund these high-impact projects inject needed energy into our members’ downtown areas, sparking growth and ultimately improving the quality of life in these public power communities.”

Grants are awarded each spring and fall. The next grant cycle opens in March 2023.

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