Differing opinions over Elon Downtown Master Plan

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ELON, N.C. -- The Elon Board of Aldermen will discuss its Downtown Master Plan Tuesday before voting on it next week.

If passed, the plan would be to make downtown Elon bigger and more bustling, creating an eight block area filled with retail shops, restaurants, condominiums and possibly a green space.

"It's a vision for the future,” Greene said. “We felt like it was time to look at doing something like that for the town of Elon, make it a destination."

Greene says it could take anywhere from 10 to 15 years to complete the plan which would start no sooner than next year.

Some business owners on Williamson Avenue fear bringing in new shops and restaurants might hurt the businesses that are already downtown.

“I think it would be fighting for the same piece of the pie," said business owner Michaelle Graybeal.

Her specialty store on Williamson Avenue, like most shops downtown, depends on student business.

Graybeal thinks new shops will stretch the business they get from students even thinner.

Peter Ustach, who owns three shops downtown, agrees.

He says he wants to see more professional businesses brought in, ones that won't just rely on student business.

"Architects, real estate agents, insurance agents," Ustach said.

Greene met with business owners in May to discuss the plan.

"You're going to have a little push back,” Greene said.

He says it's too early to predict how the plan may unfold but says businesses won't be “kicked out” if the plan is passed and new businesses are brought in.

"Were not taking away anyone's property,” Greene said. “It would totally be up to the business owners and property owners as to what they wanted to do with that."