First steps in Capital Blvd overhaul to begin - WNCT

First steps in Capital Blvd overhaul to begin

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The first phase of a plan to overhaul one of Raleigh's busiest corridors is about to get underway. 

City planners estimate 50,000 cars a day travel in and out of downtown on Capital Boulevard.  Big improvements are planned for a stretch of that road inside the belt line near downtown, and it all starts with Monday's demolition of a bowling alley.

The city bought the old AMF lanes in the 1800 block of Capital Boulevard in 2011.  Bulldozers are in place and crews will start demolishing it on Monday.  Mark Cabot is looking forward to the day.  He runs the Mission Bungalow home furnishings and lighting store across the street.

"Anything's better than an empty bowling alley," Cabot said.  "We think they have the opportunity to do something nice with it."

Once the bulldozers get to work on Monday, the city of Raleigh and some neighbors hope Capital Boulevard will soon live up to it's name as a gateway to the capital city.  The work planned for the next decade is extensive.  Deputy planning director Ken Bowers tells WNCN the city plans to make a stretch of property along the boulevard park land with expansions to the city's greenway trail, connecting the Crabtree Creek trail with downtown.  Plans also call for restoring a creek along with a natural floodplain to reduce the area's flooding risk and hopefully boost property values.  Bowers says the improvements could be key to Capital Boulevard's economic future.

"We expect the property that's not in the flood plane to be a lot more valuable than it is now so it will attract new development to this area," Bowers said.

That's something Cabot wants to see as well.

"It is the north-south corridor into Raleigh and it's a gateway and so it should look like a gateway," Cabot said.

The final price tag for the project has been tallied, but purchasing the bowling alley alone cost the city $1.1 million.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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