On Saturday, November 10, 2012, the Historic West End Neighborhood Association (HWENA) hosted a fabulous gathering at the East Stonewall AME Zion Church to celebrate its history and culture and to mark significant progress in its ongoing revitalization, image and branding efforts. According to Association President Aaron McKeithan, “HWENA is an informal collaborative gathering of 15+ neighborhood associations and other community-based entities that call the Beatties Ford Road/Northwest Corridor home”. Johnson C. Smith University's (JCSU) Center for Applied Leadership and Community Development was the co-host of the event. The Center provides technical assistance to the Association and works with the individual neighborhoods in the Beatties Ford Road/Northwest Corridor in four key work areas:
Corridor Image and Branding
Corridor Revitalization Efforts
Neighborhood Infrastructure and Amenities
Advocacy and Public Policy
In order to achieve these goals, HWENA has also developed key working relationships with Johnson C. Smith University, Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), and Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. Recent improvements being celebrated included new city street signage and landscaping amenities that will brand the corridor as the Historic West End, new art works commissioned by CATS for six bus shelters along Beatties Ford Road that will highlight the history of the corridor, the creation of Mosaic Village, a mixed-use development on West Trade that will include student housing and retail, and renovation of the George E. Davis House on Campus Street that will serve as a Foster Village Network Center for children aging out of foster care. Other highlights included a brand new park in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood and a community clean up event sponsored by the Chris Canty Foundation that included partnerships with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation and Hands on Charlotte. Another noted success was the installation of a lighting project that creates an entry into the Historic West End beneath the I-77 overpass on West Trade St. HWENA has also had some initial successes in having unpermitted vendors removed from the corridor. This has been an ongoing concern for residents that will require continued monitoring by the appropriate regulatory staff.
L to R Dr. Dan Morrill, Commissioner Vilma Leake, District 2, Mr. Wallace Pruitt, President, Seversville Neighborhood
The dinner also featured the screening of a documentary created by Dan Morrill, PhD, Director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic-Landmarks Commission, in collaboration with HWENA membership and President McKeithan. The documentary was created with production assistance by Mecklenburg County's Public Information Department. "Sameness In Diversity: The Legacy And Promise Of Charlotte's Historic West End" focused on the history, culture and current revitalization of the corridor. In his remarks, Dr. Morrill stated, "If you judge the historic significance of an area by the events and personalities associated with it that had a profound impact upon the nature of our community, a good case can be made that Charlotte’s Historic West End is the most historically significant area in Charlotte". The documentary features interviews with Dr. Ron Carter, President of JCSU, Parks Helms, former Chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, Jack Claiborne, retired Associate Editor of the Charlotte Observer, and attorney and noted Civil Rights activist, Charles Jones.
On Monday night, November 13, 2012 the Historic West End Neighborhood Association made a presentation to the Charlotte City Council concerning its progress and hope for future developments. Each City Council member was presented with a DVD copy of the documentary.
The Historic West End Has a Story to Tell.