Although we welcomed the coverage in your recent article “Rec center to boost downtown” (Jan. 4) about the exciting and ambitious plans for downtown, we were disappointed a bit by the tone of the article and the misperception about what our downtown comprises.
In addition to the people who come downtown every day to patronize local businesses, tens of thousands visit annually to enjoy performances and other events at Garner Performing Arts Center, to watch their kids play ball at the GBI complex, to play sports at Avery Street Recreation Center and to participate in the multitude of activities and programs at the Garner Senior Center.
And that’s not all. Last year several thousand people attended Downtown Sounds concerts and Carnaval Latino on the GPAC lawn, and about 2,000 people from all over the Triangle turned out for the wildly successful Trick-or-Eat food truck rodeo.
Downtown is not just a few blocks of Main Street, although those blocks certainly are critical to the vitality of the historic district. The tech and marketing company that my wife and I own happens to be on Main Street, and we are so confident about the downtown’s future that we recently purchased another property on Main Street and have begun the process of renovating it to house our coffee business.
We’re not alone. Other “creative class”-type businesses such as GrafixHouse, Disaster Area Designs and Blue Wave Deployment have also opened up shop on Main Street recently. Over the past five years there has been $1.6 million in private investment made in downtown. Garner is the historic heart of our community and, with a savvy combination of public and private investment, that heart is poised to beat strong in the years ahead.
Editor’s note: Patrick Byrd is the chair of the Garner Revitalization Association Board of Directors.