High Point Enterprise Newspaper Archives Sep 12 1976, Page 49

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High Point Enterprise (Newspaper) - September 12, 1976, High Point, North Carolina Can a bustling downtown re emerge the High Point Enterprise features sunday morning sept. 12, 1976 Section d by needed focal Point identifying the downtown the 1980 to 1985 period foresees improvements along Vrenn Street and on Commerce Street and the Extension of the main Street mall to Westwood Avenue together with additional plants at an estimated oat of $1,495,000 planners and committee members who looked into High Point s future also saw the possibility of a convention hotel in the area near the City Hall and a new City parking garage together with numerous new parking lots mostly located off Elm and Hamilton Street Lor easy Access to the main Street business area they also suggested the possibility of new office structures and preservation of the old Biltmore hotel and pedestrian ways for Quick easy movement the plan the joint committee presented to property owners and businessmen wednesday urges a new direction in land use in the Core area where there Are now Many vacant structures and where Larking is still a problem artist s vision of revitalized downtown looking North along main Street by Jim Hawkins Enterprise staff writer a cleaner More attractive downtown for High Point this is the objective of a plan developed Over the past two years in Long hours of discussion by a joint mayor chamber of Commerce Core revitalization task Force headed by Earl Phillips or it would transform a 27-Block area northward from Russell Avenue to Westwood Avenue and eastward from Elm Street to Hamilton Street plus an area in the Vicinity of the City Hall from its present deteriorated state into a mall like area for shoppers retail businesses governmental offices and the expanding furniture Market planners feel the program calling for major physical improvements and for employment of a downtown development director will bring new businesses fill in times Between markets with activity increase employment and provide an improved tax base the furniture Market has a special place in the plan developed by the City planning and architectural associates of Chapel Hill the plan Calls for additional parking for More restaurants and for sprucing up existing buildings to give them a period look in order to strengthen the Southern furniture Market s twice yearly activity Here. The planners hopi to take advantage of the Market facilities and of the new High Point theater and exhibition Center and available Motel space to draw tourists and suppliers and other Market segments such As the contract furniture Field and Home furnishings events to even out the valleys Between the major october and april furniture markets to make downtown High Point a place where people will come to shop and Tak it a part in cultural and recreational programs and to conduct business the plan suggests a a gateways of plantings and structures at major entrances a major Effort to produce a mall like atmosphere throughout the area together Wuth the creation of a Centra Plaza which would cover the Southern Railroad tracks Between main and w Renn streets and a mass transit Center and mini buses to carry people Abou the downtown to rebuild the downtown s activities the plan Calls for hiring a downtown development director who will become a emr. Downtown and who will arrange special events and encourage new tenants to locate in the area and build tourist programs for the tourists the plan suggests use of the theater Complex to offer special films and exhibitions showing How furniture is produced together with Tours of showrooms and other areas in and near High Point. In addition a emr. Downtown a will Catalon downtown space and arrange special events and unify promotional activities in much the same Way As a shopping Center manager works he will also conduct attitude surveys and prepare newsletters and encourage renovation of existing buildings through use of a Low interest loan program using Federal funds. The planners pointed to present efforts to remove wiring from the downtown streets and to prospects for a mini mall along Broad Street and for a computerized traffic Light system in suggesting renovations of the existing elderly buildings to give them a period look As Well As cleaning up the Railroad embankment and unsightly areas in the rear of structures they believe the major improvements designed to fit in with the Broad Street mall will Cost about s3.24u. largely from Federal sources Over a period of time lasting into the mid 1980s. The Money for employment of the a emr downtown will come at first from property owners and merchants and local businesses until a new special tax District can be arranged. At present a committee headed by Bill Hoover has reported Good Progress in raising the $45,000 it needs to hire a staff. For the current year the plan Calls for spending $325,000. Including $135,000 for the new mass transit Center which will be located on the site of the old Rea building other elements planned this year include Purchase of two mini buses to carry people about the Core area and for cleanup of the Railroad Banks both of these will Cost $40,000 each in addition the programs projects construction of four gateways at entrances to the Core area at a Cost of $60,000. The major improvement of the sidewalk area along main Street from Russell Street to Church Street is scheduled for the 1977-78 year at a Cost of $770,000 plantings distinctive signs and accent lighting Are included in the project in addition to new sidewalks and pedestrian benches the Central Plaza planned for the 1978-79 fiscal year. Will Cost an estimated $650 too commenting on this project which would join the existing Plaza adjacent to the new first citizens Bank building. Phillips wrote in a prepared statement that a this impressive office building the mini mall and new bus terminal plans for a Quality restaurant in the depot the beautification of the Railroad Banks and covering the tracks East of main Street will dramatically create the bad City Center is important for More than retailing by Jim Ham Kins Enterprise Slat writer Quot downtown High Point Basan importance beyond that of a retail Center Quot this statement was one of three Basic principles underlying recommendations aimed at overcoming existing problems that have seen the City score area deteriorate under tin Impact of new suburban shopping centers planners looking at High Point s downtown in an Effort to find ways to revitalize the area found shoppers Felt the downtown needed improved Access. A better appearance More eating establishments and a better selection of merchandise they pinpointed a need for additional parking and for renovation of Many of the existing structures and the importance of providing activities which will provide income during the Long periods each year when the Southern furniture Market is not in session on the other hand the study conducted under tin leadership of the joint mayor chamber of Commerce Core revitalization task Force showed the picture is by no Means completely dark planners pointed out numerous businesses Are doing Well in the downtown area and that employment in the High i Point area has a Strong future a look at recent High Point history showed How a 1962 study produced the magic Block which is now the site of a major retail store As Well As increased parking and improvements to several stores the study itself got underway in 1974 when then mayor Paul Lapp and then chamber of Commerce president Clarence Keever appointed the task Force headed by Earl Phillips. Or. And charged it with the responsibility of investigating a the problems and opportunities associated with the Central area of the City the Cost of the study about $48, shared equally by the City and by the business Community. The resulting downtown development program Calls for a new direction in land use distribution and an emphasis on development the planners noted the downtown a serves As a unique activity Center and provides the Opportunity for a variety of unique shopping employment recreational and cultural experiences different from any suburban shopping Center a they also pointed to principles that Public and private investments in the downtown should not be abandoned and that the new potential for the Core area a can Only be realized by continuing the Public private partnership a planners said the a most striking feature of the land use pattern in the Core area is tile furniture display Complex. Which has grown to giant proportions these facilities provide More than two million Square feet of showroom space and account for 59 per cent of available space in the downtown area the existence of the furniture Market has created an untapped potential to develop ancillary offices showrooms and trades which relate to the furniture Industry the plan said planners also pointed to the problem of existing structures throughout the downtown area they reported Only 13 i per cent meet Basic standards and that another 70 9 per cent could easily be renovated to meet standards while the remaining 15 9 per cent could not they reported efforts in recent years produced about 575 new parking spaces to meet needs but they predicted the City will still be Short by 181 spaces by 1981 planners found the High Point downtown is unique in that the City is the Only major North Carolina Community not served directly by a completed or proposed interstate Highway and in that it is the Only major North Carolina City without in important concentration of government offices in addition the amount of furniture showroom space makes the downtown Here unique planners said looking at shopping planners predicted an increase in new regional shopping centers which could draw even More people from the downtown area they found Many residents prefer to shop in High Point but that most of these use the shopping centers rather than the downtown due to a need for better Access. The planners said the problem of declining real estate values should not be taken lightly by residents. They pointed out that while the Core area makes up Only one per cent of the land area it provides five per cent of the taxes or about $470,000 a year. On the other hand planners found High Point has recently gained a major addition to the Southern furniture marketing Center As Well As the new High Point theater and exhibition Tenter and the first citizens Bank building and that the City has completed Street realignments and one Way pairings As Well As its new City Hall. They noted High Point has a history of steady gain in employment Over the past to years largely in manufacturing they said that while the City has about 27 per cent of the total employment in Guilford county it has 50 per cent of Industrial employment while the employment picture showed growth. Hie study added a normally attendant population and retail sales expansion has been diminished by narrowly defined City boundaries and outlying suburban and regional shopping centers Quot visual appearances within the downtown area also Drew concern from planners who noted that this element is a important to downtown because people do not want to work or shop in an ugly or shabby area Quot they noted some views seen by approaching visitors include a a visual clutter and views of unattractive rears of structures and unrelated views which create confusion they noted stores Lack design coordination and that rear areas should be remodelled to improve the impression they suggested unnecessary signs should be eliminated another problem High Point s downtown faces is its length planners said that while this cannot be changed distances could be reduced by landscaping. Widening of some walks and the addition of pedestrian walkways the downtown area needs a a visual focal planners a in pointing to the possibility of the proposed Central Plaza together with the Railroad station could easily serve this role. Planners suggested that while the downtown cannot expect to regain its former dominance As a retail Center it could make use of the furniture Market and the City s tourist potential including the intersection of the Railroad and the route of the Plank Road to draw tourists and activities relating to marketing at municipal theater japanese Art on display by Carol Wilson Utley Enterprise staff writer three Hundred years ago. Japanese artists developed a meticulous method it producing color pictures by using carved Wood blocks to impress Dixie real colors on one print. This week. Some of the prints those artists produced will be on display at the High Point theatre and exhibition Center through the efforts of the local arts Council and a Greensboro artist who has developed an interest in the japanese prints Rebecca fagg. An artist whose own works have shown Here in the third Century artists and North Carolina artists show s. Will bring her collection of japanese Wood Block prints to gallery b of the theatre building for display sept 14 through the 18. Is. Fagg s prints will be on Sale As Well As on exhibit throughout the week and she Hersell will be in attendance to discuss the prints and the artists who created them. On Friday. A i m not really sure How i first became interested in them she said in an interview this week a in the last two or three years the interest in japanese Wood Block prints has really blossomed in this country. A lot More people Are now aware of their value and the Market for them is really open one reason for this surge of interest according to is. Fagg. Is the japanese themselves. A there Are Many buyers from Japan Over Here now buying Back prints she said a these prints were produced in Japan in the 17th and 18th Century when the English came into Japan and started taking the prints Back with them the japanese did t pay that much attention a by that time they were copying Western Art. And did t see the value in the Wood Block prints. Now they Are trying to buy the prints Back and take them Back into Japan Quot she continued. A these prints Are More expensive in Japan right now than they Are Here a a there Are millions of the prints still in existence. Is. Fagg said. Although Many have been destroyed or damaged one reason she decided to go into business with Ben Burns of Greensboro Selling japanese Wood Block prints and books was to prevent further destruction of the prints Quot the value of the prints is so High now that Many dealers will Cut prints out of books or separate series of prints Quot she said Quot our reasons Tor going into business Are financial but More than that we want to see the prints preserved it we sell them to individuals who Are interested in them and know their value they will not be destroyed Quot the Wood Block prints were produced during a period when the japanese working class began taking an interest in the arts this attitude is known As Ukiye which Means the floating world the Wood Block prints were considered Ukiye Art. Because they were the Art of the japanese common Folk. Not the social Clite this period of thought lasted from the mid-l7th Century until the mid-19th Century according to is. Fagg in addition to the Wood Block prints there was also Ukiye theatre As Well Tor the working class the coining of westerners to Japan in the 19th Century halted this period of japanese Art. Is fagg said. As the japanese then began to imitate Western Art. During the time the prints were produced it was a joint Effort Between artist and woodcutter an artist would produce a simple Ink drawing taken from some form of Ordinary japanese life like a theatre scene or a popular landscape the artist then took the drawing to the woodcutter who would Cut it into a Block of Wood defining the lines of the drawing and return the drawing to the artist the Iatter would then add colors and a separate Block would have to be carved by the woodcutter Tor each color As Many Asio blocks were used to make a single print a no one since has matched the consistency and High production of the japanese Wood Block prints. Is fagg said a the whole Way the prints Are done the composition. The balance and the color is unsurpassed there has not been anything like this done since this time period Quot it is also incredible to realize How Many it these prints a single artist did in his she continued a there is one collector in this country who collects Only prints made by Hiroshige one of the More famous artists and he has 5, prints in his collection that represents Only a traction of what Hiroshige did Iii his career Many of the prints were first intended As illustrations in books they May have since been removed from the Book others came in series or were put together in a Book arrangement themselves the size of the prints vary but the most common size was a nine by 14 print every print contains in addition to the actual Art work some japanese writing the various symbols represent according to is fagg the censor s Seal the artist s signature and a description of what is shown in the picture Only a few of the prints Are unsigned according to is. Fagg in addition to Hiroshige some of the artists now considered most outstanding included Hokusai and Tamaro the value of a single print varies according to is fagg depending on the artist its condition and when it was done single prints have gone Tor As much As $60,000 Hoople who already own japanese Wood Block prints but Are unsure of their value or How to care Tor them May bring the prints to the show or Friday where is fagg will by available to answer any questions pertaining to this old and valuable Art form Rebecca fagg displays japanese print photo by Art Richard Ion

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