Changes on the way to New Bern’s 1st Street corridor

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NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – New Bern is working to attract more businesses and visitors. Future renovations are coming at an old warehouse in the city.

That project is just one of many the city is working on to revitalize its 1st Street corridor.

City leaders call the street one of the gateways to New Bern and they hope by revitalizing the area, they can also add it to their list of attractions.

Along 1st Street in New Bern, you can find a number of things; cars, an old warehouse, and Standup Outfitters are a few things.

“There’s some great opportunities along this road,” said Charley Lewis, a business owner in New Bern. His paddle board shop is one of a few businesses on the road with a new grant and the plans to match.

New Bern city leaders hope new business owners will join Lewis in calling First Street home.

“The 1st Street corridor is one of our major entryways into the city. A lot of people get their first impression of New Bern by coming down this street,” said Jeff Ruggieri, director of developmental services. He said the city’s plans include a list of changes.

The first is to renovate the warehouse. It’ll be home to workforce development training and a new city market. The land surrounding it will have space for vendors and patrons.

They also want to make the area pedestrian friendly by adding sidewalks.

“We’re providing opportunities for people to grow professionally and personally, and providing recreational opportunities for more citizens of New Bern that didn’t exist before,” Ruggieri said.

More traffic with a better look around Lewis’ business is something he has no problem with. In fact, the avid paddle boarder and his family welcome the idea.

“We’re really high on the area and we’re ready to be part of the improvement and look forward to seeing it happen,” said Lewis.

There’s no timetable on when this project will be finished.

The more than $500,000 grant the city received this week will pay for the warehouse renovation. The city still needs more funding to execute the other plans.

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