More housing in downtown Morganton is one of the largest and most consistent wishes expressed by citizens, and the City of Morganton is taking a huge step to meet that demand.
After an intensive Masterplan process for the downtown area that involved more than a year’s worth of public input, surveys, and market studies to layout a vision for the future of downtown, the City was not surprised that the Masterplan showed that a large percentage of Baby Boomers and Millennials prefer city-living over a suburban lifestyle.
“More and more, we’re seeing that people want to live where they work and play,” said Main Street Director Sharon Jablonski. “They want their backyard to be the local art gallery, and their front yard to be the local farm-to-table restaurant.”
In response to these desires expressed by Morganton’s citizens, the Morganton City Council approved a measure during its Monday night meeting that allocates $120,000 for low-interest loans to aid in the creation of downtown housing in the Central Business District.
The Downtown Housing Improvement Program (HIP) establishes guidelines for allowing qualified and vetted applicants to receive a loan of up to $10,000 per unit toward developing housing in downtown.
“There is more demand for downtown housing than what currently exists, and this program will encourage building owners to help meet that demand,” Jablonski said. “The Downtown Housing Improvement Program will continue to make the downtown area a place where people enjoy a lifestyle that meets their wants and needs for an active, safe and enjoyable community that puts people first and recognizes downtown as the City’s heart.”
The loans will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, and are designed to assist property owners in getting more housing in downtown quickly - once the loan is awarded, the recipient will be required to begin construction within six months. The loans will assist property owners in making necessary upgrades to structures to meet required state and local fire codes.
Downtown Morganton has always been at the forefront of executing ideas that ensure it is a place people enjoy living, working and playing. The Downtown Housing Improvement Program (HIP) is the latest move in the City’s effort to keep downtown a point of pride for citizens and a memorable experience for visitors. Bringing more housing to downtown will bring more people into the City’s heart, creating an even more vibrant and thriving area for everyone to enjoy – because it’s HIP to be Downtown!