City of Gastonia Submits Feasibility Study Grant Application for Highland Neighborhood

Project CHANGE to Investigate Capping Railroad Ditch for Increased Access and Mobility

Railroad tracks in concrete trench

The City of Gastonia has submitted a request for $2 million in RCP Discretionary Planning Grant funds to complete a feasibility study for Project CHANGE – Connecting Highland: Access, Neighborhood Growth, Equity. This study will investigate the feasibility of capping the railroad ditch that runs through Downtown Gastonia and improve NC Highway 7, both of which create a barrier to mobility, connectivity, access, and economic development for the transportation disadvantaged communities to the north of the downtown area.

“This study, if funded, would open up access for those living in the areas outlined by the study who travel by car, bicycle, or walk,” said Mayor Walker Reid. “We want our communities to be safe while keeping continuous traffic flows.”

If funded, the City of Gastonia must provide $500,000 (20%) in matching funds for the study. The project is also completely located in a federally designated Opportunity Zone. If the grant application is successful, the feasibility study could begin by end of 2023.

“Completing a feasibility is imperative for us to understand the technical and financial implications of capping the railroad ditch while looking to maximize public benefits for better mobility and connectivity, as well as assessing various development opportunities,” said City Manager Michael Peoples.

Information about the feasibility study for the grant submission is available here.