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Looking Forward To 2020

Estimated Read Time:
3 minutes

As Durham continues to grow and evolve, community initiatives offer much to look forward to in the new year.

Posted By Susan Amey on Dec 27, 2019

At the start of this new decade, with the momentum of our destination behind us, I think it’s more apt than ever to look ahead.

As the ‘Tastiest Town in the South,’ you know we have our eye on Durham’s food scene, celebrating new eateries as much as we enjoy helping folks discover some of our staples for the first time. We’re especially excited for the reopening of Saint James Seafood in the next few weeks. Matt Kelly has helped establish Durham as a foodie destination, opening five nationally acclaimed restaurants over the years. Of late, Matt has been a champion for the Brightleaf District, encouraging locals and visitors to return following last April’s tragic explosion. I heard him speak then, standing alongside neighboring business owners, to the strength and resiliency of the Brightleaf District, as well as months later at Downtown Durham, Inc.’s annual meeting. We applaud him for wanting to rebuild together and never overlook the area as one of downtown’s first neighborhood destination spots with a density of eclectic, uniquely Durham shops and restaurants. For other anticipated restaurant openings, I always find myself refreshing Bites of Bull City blog’s list of what’s coming soon. We hear that the much-anticipated Durham Food Hall is not far off from opening — stay tuned!

With the passing of the Affordable Housing Bond, National Census Day approaching, and elections on the horizon, I am also looking forward to Mayor Schewel’s State of the City Address in February. His previous years’ emphasis on shared prosperity and robust, respectful debate inspired much of the foundation for Durham 150 that our organization took to heart when marketing the yearlong commemoration. This year, we have a few other marketing initiatives lined up — in addition to our sales team planning to host the 65th annual meeting of the Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC) and the Durham Sports Commission working behind the scenes to organize its first-ever high school football jamboree.

There are quite a few big developments and infrastructure projects wrapping up in Durham in 2020, too. The renovation of the Main Library looks to wrap up this spring with a sleek design, state-of-the-art amenities and vibrant outdoor activity areas. The East End Connector, aiming to be completed this fall, will improve access to and from N.C. 147, U.S. 70, I-85 and I-40, better connecting Durham to the Research Triangle Park, Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Wake County. A heads up to those who may not have traveled down 147 of late: traffic patterns recently shifted in preparation. Work on the Alston Avenue widening project is also slated to be completed in 2020.


(Photo from ABC 11 News)

From new murals to painted crosswalks, quite a few public art projects were unveiled in 2019. With a new sculpture garden at the Nasher Museum of Art coming this fall, the debut of 21c’s “The Future is Female” exhibit and other on-going initiatives, we don’t foresee the arts community in Durham slowing down anytime soon. Our friends at the Research Triangle Foundation have big things planned for Hub RTP, a new development opportunity in the heart of the Park, starting with the opening of Boxyard RTP in 2020. We know a few of Durham’s entrepreneurial distillers plan to take advantage of the game-changing Senate Bill 290 that passed in July 2019. We’re excited to see a few more cocktail bars pop up in the new year.

There are plenty more new developments underway that promise to keep Durham high on the lists tracking the best places to live, work and play. What’s clear, no matter your interests, Durham is a place that’s going to continue to be diverse, engaging, and ever-changing into this new decade. I can’t think of a more fun destination to attract visitors to or be a part of the economic development community. Here’s to 2020 and beyond!

Indeed — we're looking forward to the new year with great anticipation! We also invite you to take a moment to look back as well: here is the Year in Durham.

About the Author

Susan Amey - President and CEO