CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners on plans for ‘iconic' bridge to link uptown, South End

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Consider this week a matter of gaining a foothold for a long-sought project. On Tuesday at the Stonewall Street light-rail station, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, county commissioners board chairman George Dunlap and other civic leaders left their footprints in cement stepping stones to mark the beginning of work on an $11 million pedestrian bridge that will connect uptown and South End.

The project will span 650 feet and hover above Interstate 277, providing access for pedestrians and cyclists between South End’s rapidly growing residential and retail areas and the uptown. The bridge will be funded with $1.5 million in private money and $9.5 million from the public sector, split among county, city and state governments.

Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, led the fundraising campaign to build the pedestrian bridge. It was originally supposed to be built as part of the light-rail line that opened in 2007, but it was cut in 2004 because of cost overruns.

Smith spoke with CBJ after the ceremony about next steps and the importance of closer ties between South End and uptown.

Read excerpts from that interview here.