First impressions count for a lot, and in recent years Hillsborough Street hasn’t been making such a great impression on visitors to N.C. State University.
“We’re just ecstatic to have the improvement, because it was really starting to look pretty bad,” says Marilyn Stieneke, planning and communications director in the NCSU finance and business office.
She’s talking about the city’s $9.7 million makeover of an eight-block stretch of Hillsborough, from Oberlin Road to Gardner Street, that borders the NCSU campus. You can read more about all this in Monday’s News & Observer.
“When we have prospective students come in to look at the campus, with that end of Hillsborough Street being their first look at campus, it didn’t adequately reflect what we wanted to reflect in terms of N.C. State,” Stieneke said. “So these improvements are going to cause us to make a big step forward with that.
Stieneke works in Holladay Hall, and she likes to pop across the street for a quick sandwich at Sadlack’s or a business lunch at Porter’s.
“The attractiveness of the street, the safety of the street, the parking that has been added – all these things will attract people. And Hillsborough will be more of a destination, not only for folks on our side of the street, but for the city,” she said.
As the university architect, Michael Harwood worked with city officials and Hillsborough merchants through a 10-year planning process for the Hillsborough project. Now he’s the interim administrator of NCSU’s Centennial Campus.
The city investment will help make Hillsborough appealing for students and city residents, Harwood said.
“The businesses were in survival mode for several years,” Harwood said. “We’ve got work to do to get the right mix of businesses there. Right now, Glenwood South is a little more attractive to students than Hillsborough Street. But as it settles down, it has a lot more opportunity to attract the kind of things that will attract more students.
“I think the transformation of the street will help lead a renaissance of the business community.”