Friends of the Downtown: 2018 Programs

December 6, 2018 – We welcomed Dwight Bassett, Economic Development Officer for the Town of Chapel Hill, back to inform us about our Town’s Commercial Development strategy. His presentation included the role we can play in growth of the entire Triangle region. Dwight reviewed commercial growth in our region and discussed the tools needed to achieve similar growth for Chapel Hill. This month’s gathering took place at LaUNCh Chapel Hill.

October 25, 2018 – Alisa Rogers, the Land Use Management Ordinance Project Manager for the Town’s “Charting Our Future” initiative reviewed Chapel Hill’s Future Land Use Map, together with the Land Use Management Ordinance, and explained dictate how the Town can use land in the future for development.  She brought us up to date on plans to improve the Future Land Use Map of the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan and to rewrite the town’s Land Use Management Ordinance for use through 2049.  This month’s gathering took place at The Franklin Hotel.

September 27, 2018 – Mayor Pam Hemminger and Town Manager Maurice Jones were our speakers. Maurice Jones transitioned to become Chapel Hill’s Town Manager on August 20th, 2018, taking over from Roger Stancil who retired after 12 years of service. Maurice Jones came to us from Charlottesville, VA, where he was City Manager since 2010 and Assistant City Manager prior to that. Our Mayor introduced the new Town Manager, who spoke about issues Chapel Hill has in common with Charlottesville. This month’s gathering took place at The Franklin Hotel.

August 30, 2018 – UNC Athletics 2018-2019 Update – Rick Steinbacher (UNC’93) was our speaker.  As UNC’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Communications, he manages all of the athletic department’s external communications including marketing, new media and gameday customer relations. Rick updated on the many construction projects, new facilities and this year’s athletic schedule. He prepared us for a great start to the 2018-2019 athletic events calendar.  This gathering took place at Breadmen’s Restaurant on West Rosemary Street.

July, 2018 – No gathering took place in July.  We were resting and relaxing!

June 28, 2018 – Ali Farahnakian, UNC ’90  and former “Saturday Night Live” writer, recently opened his third Peoples Improv Theater in the former DSI Comedy Theatre space on West Franklin Street. He founded The Peoples Improv Theater (The PIT) in New York to provide both shows and classes in improv, sketch comedy, writing, public speaking, production, as well as corporate workshops.  The PIT has produced several notable alumni, such as Ellie Kemper (from The Office, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and 21 Jump Street) and Kristen Schall (from The Last Man on Earth, 30 Rock, Toy Story 3 and HBO’s Flight of the Conchords).  Ali informed us at The PIT on West Franklin Street about his re-introduction to Chapel Hill and his plans for The PIT’s continued growth and success.

May 31, 2018 – An Innovation Framework for the UNC College of Arts & Sciences 
Senior Associate Dean Chris Clemens discussed plans for a new Institute for Convergent Science that will speed the translation of basic research into solutions to the worlds most pressing challenges. He also updated the group on plans for a new science building that will house the Institute and support its mission to engage in economic development for the State. Took place at the Franklin Hotel.

April 26, 2018 – Friends, Food, Table & Our Environment Fran Gualtieri and the staff of La Res presented a spectacular program to inform us on the operations associated with running one of our most unique and popular downtown restaurants. This meeting also included special door prizes!  At La Residence Restaurant.

March 29, 2018 – Current ArtSpace + Studio  Amy Russell, Director of Programming for Carolina Performing Arts, introduced us to Current ArtSpace + Studio in Carolina Square. A new kind of arts venue, where no two experiences are ever the same, this amazing 8,500 sq.ft, $5 million facility was fun to experience and understand how these spaces will be used. The gathering took place at Current ArtSpace + Studio.

February 22, 2018 – Updates from the Town Staff: A presentation of the Downtown Development update, information about the next phase of the Downtown Work Plan, and information on parking changes, took place at the NEW AC Hotel on Rosemary Street.

January 25, 2018 – Dr. Gerry Bell: Lessons on Leadership, Leadership strategies and techniques presented by the founder of the Bell Leadership Institute, took place in The Franklin Hotel.