WAXHAW – The growth and promotion of Waxhaw’s charming downtown area will start from the inside out, led by citizens.
The town’s Main Street Advisory Committee, which sets out to build economic vitality and development to make downtown Waxhaw a vibrant place, has come up with a work plan to fulfill that goal.
The board’s chair, Emily Kroeger, read the new vision statement for downtown Waxhaw, put together by a group of citizens, including some council members, at the Jan. 14 town commissioners meeting.
“Life is on track in downtown Waxhaw,” Kroeger said. “Connected by the iconic overhead bridge, Downtown Waxhaw’s streetscapes pay homage to heritage while keeping pace with progress. A vibrant arts community, unique boutiques and diverse cuisine partnered with professional business services make Waxhaw an epicenter for entrepreneurship and innovation.”
In order to make this happen, the advisory committee has come up with a three-part strategy that involves both Waxhaw residents and local government officials.
Kroeger said the first part of the plan is to “grow Waxhaw’s reputation as a hub for dining and culinary experience.” The committee hopes to cultivate a group of local restaurant owners that can come together and form a marketing plan that would include providing special opportunities for people to eat in Waxhaw.
Another component of growing Waxhaw’s culinary reputation will include partnering with local restaurants for a future big food event. Kroeger gave the example of “Battle of the Restaurants,” which Mayor Ron Pappas said he was excited about. Kroeger said the restaurants would run the events. The goal is to create more regional awareness about downtown dining.
“We’re trying to create a buzz in downtown,” Kroeger said. “Go beyond our borders.”
The committee would also like to boost the status of downtown Waxhaw’s professional services and unique boutiques. They envision the creation of a citizen leadership board to develop what this will look like.
“By our providing framing and a goal and being accountability partners to our downtown merchants, they can drive what this looks like,” Kroeger said. “We can set a framework for them to work within, which is, right now, lacking.”
She brought up the idea of developing an email platform for merchants to send out monthly news about their business. Social and digital media will also be a big part of the town’s plan for growth and promotion. Kroeger said the committee will research the feasibility of a social media page or downtown lifestyle-oriented page and present those options to the commissioners. They plan to work with the town’s communications team to develop this.
Social and digital media are also part of the third component of the plan, which is to support the town’s visual arts and craftsmen. The committee would like to incorporate social media into this, as well as identify a team of leaders in the arts, culture and history arenas of the town. They also want to develop a tool to measure the economic impact of cultural and visual arts in downtown Waxhaw.
Commissioner Anne Simpson said she was part of the group that formed the vision statement and she loved how the committee is bringing it to fruition. She suggested the creation of an app, which aligns with the plan to increase the town’s digital media presence. The app would allow opportunities to explore Waxhaw, from historic landmarks to popular restaurants.
The board voted to give the committee the green light to research more and bring their options back to the board at a later date.
The committee will look at the best practices in other towns and see what would work best for Waxhaw.
“Some outstanding things exist that we have never even seen before that we would like to research more and see if they would work for us,” Kroeger said.