Riding streetcar to revival – or ruin – of historically Black neighborhoods – Charlotte Post


PHOTO | TROY HULL
Residents and advocates of Historic West End are balancing anticipation and wariness about the CityLynx Gold Line’s impact on the northwest corridor. As new infrastructure and development comes to historically Black neighborhoods in west Charlotte, residents are concerned longtime homeowners and businesses could be forced out as a result of gentrification.

Ron and Deb Cureton have seen decades of change in Historic West End.

There was desegregation, gentrification and community preservation initiatives. Ronald’s parents grew up in Matthews and were sharecroppers. Deb’s mother was from Davidson and her father grew up on Alexander Street in Second Ward. They met and eventually moved to University Park, where both grew up. In 2003, the Curetons moved to their current home in Hyde Park.

“We have seen the growth of this area,” Deb said.

As teenagers, the Curetons saw first-hand the effects of sweeping public transportation reform on their community. They are wary as more change approaches.

The CityLynx Gold Line is a 10-mile streetcar project that connects east and west Charlotte. When completed, its 37-stop route includes cultural destinations and major employers in the urban core; Novant Health Presbyterian and Central Piedmont Community College in the Elizabeth neighborhood to the east and Johnson C. Smith University in Historic West End.

Phase 1, which stretches from Elizabeth Avenue in the east to the Charlotte Transportation Center, has been completed. Phase 2 extends service to French Street in the west and Phase 3 ends at the Rosa Parks Place Community
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