Bringing people back to downtowns across the Triad

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COVID restrictions are loosening up, case numbers are going down and people across the Triad are getting vaccinated.

Downtown organizations across the Piedmont are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and the start of returning to normalcy.

While warmer weather is encouraging people to venture out of their homes, city leaders aren’t depending on just that to bring people to their downtown streets.

They’re working on making sure when people do come out, things will be new and exciting.

“What we’re seeing is tremendous energy with the business owners,” Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership President Jason Thiel said.

He told FOX8 there’s a lot on the horizon to draw people in.

“We had a lot of construction going on downtown,” Thiel said. “There’s a lot of new businesses people haven’t seen.”

That means there are new buildings and new places to go.

The group is planning on bringing back the Streatery in mid-March, and hopefully, bringing in some other new events.

“You’ll start to hear things like the cycling race is going to be happening, and we’re hopefully going to have the summer concert series again,” Thiel said.

With increased marketing, he’s hoping it’ll help persuade people to safely come out and enjoy the downtown streets that have been left emptier than normal over the past year.

“There’s a pent-up demand with most people to get back to normal and doing things they remember doing,” Thiel said.

Downtown Greensboro Inc. President Zack Matheny is also optimistic.

“We’re seeing a more feet on the street,” he said.

If the trends continue in the right direction, there are some exciting things planned.

“We’re looking at some new socially-distanced events and we’re already looking at July 4th,” Matheny said.

His team is also working on something new at the corner of Davie and Washington streets.

They’re planning on bringing large shipping containers to the middle of downtown to create something different for people to enjoy.

“This will be an outdoor-type retail space, with the containers, with some seating in the middle so folks can congregate in a socially-distanced way,” Matheny said. “We’re retrofitting them to be small shops and maybe even coffee shops or small restaurants.”

He told FOX8 they hope to buy the first four, of potentially 10, shipping containers by the end of March.

If all goes according to plan, Matheny hopes the “container hub” will be up and running in May.

People should be on the lookout for lots of events happening across the Triad starting in the next couple of weeks

In Winston-Salem, Thiel said they’re also working on a top-secret Trade Street project.

In Lexington, city leaders told FOX8 that there will be a laser light show in downtown by the old courthouse on March 13. They are working with different bars and restaurants to get people outside and enjoy the downtown area.

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