Crafting Hickory – Sneak Preview of Redevelopment Plans

proposed Hickory Riverwalk

So much beauty and charm, so little time! That’s how we feel about the many picturesque and lively mountain towns in North Carolina. After sampling them all, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But today we’re shining our spotlight on a true standout. Known as a furniture capital, a natural wonder, a recreational heaven, and an entertainment haven, this beloved town has mastered the art of blending “small town values with big city drive.” That’s right, Hickory, North Carolina, we’re talking about you. 

For years, Hickory has encompassed all that’s great about mountain living. Visitors rave about the limitless things to do in Hickory North Carolina, and residents boast that their traditional-yet-progressive hometown offers something for everyone. Not one to rest on its laurels, Hickory is currently focused on its own redevelopment, with city officials confident they can renew and revive the area by bringing in new jobs and residents to stimulate the local economy like never before.

Here’s how they’ve set about “Crafting Hickory” –  After studying a few pages from the playbooks of recently revitalized cities like Greenville, South Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee, county and city officials in Hickory developed a similar success strategy, putting focus on the specific needs of its own businesses, communities, and neighborhoods. A team of dedicated committee members, citizens, and consultants came together to create a plan called Inspiring Spaces, which promises to improve Hickory’s appearance, grow its businesses, and strengthen its overall economy. This forward-looking plan strives to preserve Hickory’s “Life. Well crafted.” motto while subscribing to Mayor Rudy Wright’s secondary motto: “Nulla Vestigial Retro – No Steps Backwards.”

Here’s a sneak peek at three of the major projects currently in development by the Inspiring Spaces committee, as they take steps toward creating a well-crafted life for the citizens of Hickory in the 21st century and beyond:

HICKORY RIVERWALK

A network of picturesque pedestrian walkways will extend from Geitner-Rotary Park along Lake Hickory and extending into the surrounding landscape along the Catawba River on the periphery of the city to US-321. Designed for functionality and recreation, this combination boardwalk/ trail will serve as both a city system that links multiple points of interest along the route – including local businesses, event spaces, parks, and playgrounds –  and a unique destination space with brand new shopping, dining, and entertainment venues which we’ll soon see springing up at the southern end. With built-in scenic overlooks spaced throughout, the eight-to-10-foot wide waterfront trail will accommodate both walking and biking. Hiking trails will be added to offer even more recreational opportunities for those who like to venture off into more rugged terrain.

Hickory Riverwalk is a perfect fit for a healthy, vibrant town where visitors and locals like to stay active, enjoy the great outdoors, and have their pick of fun things to do in Hickory North Carolina. The Inspiring Spaces team is excited to revitalize this scenic area along Lake Hickory and the Catawba River to help spur new jobs, promote tourism, and encourage residential growth in Hickory and nearby North Carolina mountain properties.

PARK 1764

To further promote economic expansion in Hickory, Catawba County and City of Hickory officials are working together to develop a 178-acre Class A business park with state-of-the-art manufacturing and office complexes that will no doubt attract new companies looking to do business in Hickory. It’s called Park 1784, and it’s ideally located in a quiet community with easy access to two major interstates, just two miles from I-40 (E/W) and 30 miles from I-85 (N/S). Hickory currently has limited areas for existing businesses to grow, or for new businesses to move into. This project solves both problems by allowing businesses currently in Hickory to grow and expand, and by paving the way for new companies wanting to build or relocate to Hickory in an industrial park that’s less than an hour’s drive to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

CITYWALK

Then there’s Citywalk! This one’s sure to be a favorite with university students and business professionals who spend much of their day in Hickory’s business district. This attractive downtown corridor will connect all of the area’s best features, offering easy access between businesses (including the university campus) and a variety of surrounding shops, services, venues, and transportation stops. Citywalk will extend from Lenoir Rhyne University, down Main Avenue, and past Union Square along the railroad tracks. It features a pedestrian bridge plus added amenities along Main Avenue and Union Square. The Inspiring Spaces team has developed a vision for Hickory’s Citywalk as “a great place for all residents to enjoy … a place where young adults want to work, live, and play.”

When it comes to revitalizing an already amazing little slice of Blue Ridge heaven, Hickory’s not alone. Sure, they may have borrowed a page from the playbooks of Greenville and Chattanooga, but they’re not the first, and they certainly won’t be the last to transform their charming city into a vibrant, walkable mountain community, preserving the character of the past while infusing it with all the amenities of 21st Century living. That’s the perfect combination, according to thousands of baby boomers who each year choose to migrate from the daily rat race to a peaceful-but-active mountain lifestyle in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

If there’s one thing these folks know, it’s how to live life to the fullest, in a place that offers mild mountain climates, fishing from the riverbank just outside your door, enjoying sun salutations against the backdrop of Grandfather Mountain, and hiking, biking, and gardening the day away until the sun sets behind your beautiful Western North Carolina mountain property. This is living. Where avid foodies gather at a neighborhood gastropub to share a farm-to-table meal and toast their friendship with a local microbrew. Where live music festivals flow endlessly from one season into to the next. Where public art sculptures (think Hendersonville’s Painted Bears, Hickory’s Painted Benches, or Aiken’s Painted Horses) beckon the cultural crowd out into the streets. Where charming towns inspire road trips to the next mountain town on your bucket list.

Hickory’s a town where life is well-crafted. And lucky for you, it’s surrounded by your choice mountain towns in North Carolina where life is well lived. When you’re ready to start looking at Carolina mountain properties, look no further than The Coves Mountain River Club. Our 3,600-acre mountain community with five miles of river frontage along the Johns River is an easy 40-minute drive to Hickory’s Downtown Farmer’s Market.

The well-crafted homes at The Coves range from cozy to luxurious and offer scenic mountain and water views in all directions. And when it comes to outdoor walking paths, Hickory may be expanding on a good thing, but we have plenty of our own. And they’re perfect for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. There’s also a full range of amenities, including a community vineyard and garden, modern fitness center, and hilltop swimming pool located on the grounds of the neighborhood lodge, the best place to take in the spectacular 360-degree views of the surrounding Blue Ridge mountain ranges.

Call us at 828.754.0700 to schedule your visit to The Coves. We are Lenoir’s most sought-after gated community, and it’s just minutes from Downtown Hickory.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84-page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide, which gives you more information about living in the foothills.

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