The Lake Lure Town Center - Turning Vision to Reality

An overhead sketch of the proposed Town Center Master Plan 

 

"A well planned Town Center will foster economic opportunities with strong ties to our natural assets." 

 

A town's center is the location that brings a community together. It is primarily a commercial center that serves residents and visitors alike.

With a plan in place to guide its direction, a town's center can become the heart of a community, a place of diverse interests that converge in one location and that connects with everyone else.

The original development plan for Lake Lure, adopted in the late 1920s, actually commissioned what we know as the Town Center today to be the focal point for the community and commerce.

The Town Center was originally designed to be the largest, most intensively developed, mixed use area within the town. The 1926 Plan included retail, service, civic, professional, cultural and recreational uses. The plan specifically identified locations for residential lots, hotels, motels, community buildings and transportation facilities. 

But only a few of the buildings proposed in that plan were constructed before the stock market crashed in 1929.

For the last 80 years, the Lake Lure Town Center has grown slowly without clear, coordinated guidance.

Due to the culmination of several overlapping factors occurring in and around the Town Center, a thoughtful plan for the growth of this strategic location is more important than ever.

Consider:

  • The State of North Carolina acquired Chimney Rock Park in 2007 and tripled its size.  The newly adopted Chimney Rock State Park Master Plan proposes the new ingress (entrance) to the Park through the heart of the Lake Lure Town Center.
  • Land conservancies have successfully protected thousands of acres and are making them available for recreation.  Approximately 285,000 people visit Chimney Rock State Park per year.   As the Park is renovated, the visitors are expected to rise significantly
  • The demographic base of the community is transitioning from a seasonal to a permanent population due to retiring baby boomers and relocation of young families to the area.
  • Lake Lure Classical Academy, a K-8 Charter School, opened its doors at a temporary location in 2009 becoming the first school in Lake Lure in 60 years.
  • The North Carolina Department of Transportation has activated a Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) for our area.  Representatives from the Town of Lake Lure, Chimney Rock Village, Rutherford County, NCDOT, and Chimney Rock State Park have been appointed to a steering committee to give general guidance to NCDOT as this project moves forward.  It will take approximately 12-15 additional months to complete the CTP.

Without a Town Center Master Plan to guide development in response to these changes, the Town Center will be plagued with traffic congestion, insufficient infrastructure and piecemeal development. Worse still, the town and region will lose revenues and suffer from disinvestment due to negative impacts of growth arising from a re-energized but unmanaged tourism-based economy.

Once completed, the Town Center Master Plan will provide a well coordinated, unified strategy for redeveloping and revitalizing the Town Center by creating a mixed use, environmentally and economically sustainable Town Center with a strong sense of place.

It will serve as a value proposition, inviting investors, entrepreneurs, developers and business owners as partners in creating a vibrant mixed-use Town Center, where shopping, dining, education and outdoor recreation are at the forefront. A well planned Town Center will foster economic opportunities with strong ties to our natural assets.