The City will hold a second meeting on Monday, Oct. 9 to give the public an opportunity to comment, ask questions, and get the latest information on the proposed Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment, or FUSE, District. The meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. at the Gastonia Conference Center, 145 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.
The project’s architectural firm, Pendulum Studio of Kansas City, MO, development and finance consultants from the UNC School of Government, City staff members, and City Council members will be at the meeting to provide information, answer questions, and hear public opinions on the project.
The first public input meeting, held on Sept. 25, attracted a full house of interested citizens. “We were very pleased that citizens were interested enough in the FUSE project to come out and express their opinions and get their questions answered,” said Kristy Crisp, the City’s economic development director. “We hope that citizens will come out again because we’ll be presenting additional information about the project that wasn’t presented at the first meeting.”
City Manager Michael Peoples added, “We’re at a point in the planning process where we are beginning to formulate answers to some of the public’s most frequently asked questions like, ‘What will it look like,’ and ‘What kinds of activities and sports will it house’. We want to make those decisions with input from citizens.”
The next meeting will include a discussion of private development opportunities around the FUSE site and potential historic preservation of some of the buildings currently on the site. At a third meeting scheduled for Monday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m. at the Conference Center, renderings of the proposed sports-entertainment complex will be presented and other issues of interest to the public will be discussed.
The FUSE project has a dual purpose. First and foremost, it is a revitalization project to bring new commercial interest, activity, and investment into an area of Gastonia that has experienced a loss of industry, jobs, and commercial business over a succession of years. At the same time, the anchor of the project is a multi-use sports and entertainment complex that will attract locals as well as tourists and the dollars that come with them. It will also act as a bridge between the City’s developing Downtown and the promising Loray Mill mixed use development creating a much larger, more vibrant and prosperous Central City district.