© 2024 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
A skyline that sprouts new buildings at a dizzying pace. Neighborhoods dotted with new breweries and renovated mills. Thousands of new apartments springing up beside light rail lines. The signs of Charlotte’s booming prosperity are everywhere. But that prosperity isn’t spread evenly. And from Charlotte’s “corridors of opportunity,” it can seem a long way off, more like a distant promise than the city’s reality.

Charlotte to open ‘Opportunity Hubs' in six low-income areas next year

The Charlotte skyline rises over the afternoon rush on Wilkinson Boulevard, where the city has pledged to invest millions through its Corridors of Opportunity initiative.
Nick de la Canal
/
WFAE
The Charlotte skyline rises over the afternoon rush on Wilkinson Boulevard, where the city has pledged to invest millions through its Corridors of Opportunity initiative.

Hubs to connect small businesses and entrepreneurs with resources are set to open next year in all six of Charlotte’s designated Corridors of Opportunity. The city council voted Monday night to allot money to several nonprofits to operate what will be called Business Opportunity Hubs.

City Council member Ed Driggs said investments in workforce development are more productive than providing housing subsidies.

“I hope that what this will accomplish is that people who have an aspiration, whether it's a business or a job, have a place to go where they can go to overcome obstacles to their success,” said Driggs.

The city is spending $4.5 million on the hubs — most of it from American Rescue Plan Act funds. The goal is to open them by next summer.

The hubs will serve all businesses and nonprofits seeking help in the low-income corridors, but some have specific focuses that include:

Albemarle/Central Avenue — A retail showcase for emerging retailers and a large event space for job fairs.

Sugar Creek — Training for women trying to break into the trades with child care provided during classes.

Beatties Ford/Rozelles Ferry — Business plan consulting, assessment, financial services and access to loans.

Freedom/Wilkinson — Incubator program and affordable space for entrepreneurs, and training provided by Goodwill Industries, Aspire Community Capital and CPCC.

North End — Start-up assistance and expanded business consulting, and employment development services for contractors with a focus on minority and Hispanic-owned construction firms.

West Boulevard — Expanded services for small businesses and nonprofits that include training, mentoring and help with securing funding.

The city council Monday also approved nearly $6 million in federal pandemic relief funds for the city’s anti-displacement strategy. The money will go toward home down payment assistance programs, establishing an accessory dwelling unit program to help homeowners put small rental units on their properties, and housing rehab services to small landlords in rapidly changing areas.

Sign up for EQUALibrium

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.