The Whiteville Streetscape Master Plan provides a vision and framework for improving the South Madison Street streetscape from Webster Street on the north to the intersection of Lee and Franklin Streets to the south.
A history rich in character and collaboration
With a population of more than 5,000 residents, the City of Whiteville boasts a active and historic downtown—and the City is committed to maintaining a vibrant downtown, retaining its historic character and creating opportunities for businesses and residents alike. The City of Whiteville Main Street Department is charged with building public-private partnerships and facilitating improvements downtown to spur economic development that achieves measurable results such as investment, business growth, and job creation.
Starting in 2020, WithersRavenel’s landscape architects collaborated with the community and stakeholders to prepare a master plan document for streetscape improvements.
Goals and objectives include improving the pedestrian experience, supporting businesses, celebrating local history, and enhancing downtown aesthetics and identity.
The master plan for streetscape improvements to nine blocks of South Madison Street is the result of a community-based planning and design process that involved residents, business owners, City staff, and other stakeholders.
Two in-person community meetings were held during the process, and virtual opportunities were also provided to solicit local knowledge, perspectives, and ideas. The plan prioritizes the pedestrian experience, introducing wider sidewalks, reconfigured parking, green space, landscape improvements , traffic calming measures, and opportunities for green infrastructure and resiliency to accommodate major storm events.
Rethinking the relationship between pedestrian and vehicular traffic
The plan also recommends the removal of traffic signals and the implementation of 3 separate roundabouts. The center roundabout creates a civic space adjacent to the historic Vinelands railroad depot which will not only contribute to the everyday pedestrian experience but also provide a space for seasonal events in downtown.
In addition to calming traffic and improving traffic flow, proposed roundabouts at the northern and southern end of the corridor also provide opportunities for enhancing the sense of entry into downtown and incorporating public art, wayfinding signage and stormwater management features
Community gathering space
On the heels of the streetscape project, our team prepared a master plan for a community space on 7 acres adjacent to Madison Street. This former site of a shopping center will be transformed into a community space that will include a performance stage, large green space, playground, splash pad and other site amenities. The community was also engaged during the planning and design process this space. Construction plans are currently being prepared.
Building resiliency, spurring economic activity
The southern part of downtown Whiteville experiences significant flooding during major storm events. While they will not solve the entire problem both the streetscape project and the community space project include features that will contribute to managing these events. Plans for the streetscape improvements include storm water facilities integrated along the corridor and into the southernmost roundabout. The plans for the community space includes a major bioswale and a constructed wetland. In addition to improving the aesthetics and pedestrian experience, implementation of the plan is expected to enhance existing businesses and spur continued economic development.
How we worked on the plan
Creating a vision for both projects was achieved by engaging the community and stakeholders, and providing multiple ways to get involved with the process, systematic research, a thorough site inventory and analysis, and a vigorous pursuit of creative and alternative solutions. Input from the community, stakeholders and staff shaped the final plans which reflect local knowledge and the aspirations of Whiteville residents.
Funding and implementation
The implementation of the streetscape and the community space projects will require diligent pursuit of alternative funding sources and continued support from the community and city leadership. Our team also assisted the City with submittals for grant funding to support the project. Funding from the Rural Transformation Grant program and the NC Land and the Water Fund program were secured to help support the project.