Chartered in 1889, the Town of Four Oaks was one of several towns that grew around the old Wilmington and Weldon Railroad in Johnston County, which eventually became the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. The Town’s Commercial Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. WithersRavenel developed the Four Oaks Downtown Streetscape Master Plan for the 15-acre downtown core in 2020.
The Historic Commercial District offers charming architecture with a collection of buildings, including an old department store, restaurants, and specialty shops. With the Master Plan, WithersRavenel created an opportunity for a vibrant public realm along Main Street, Wellons Street (NC 301), and the surrounding downtown core. The Plan proposes wider sidewalks along the Main and Wellons Streets’ storefronts, which narrows vehicle traffic lanes to slow traffic and offers room for street trees. The Plan further enhances pedestrian safety with curb bulb-outs and specialty paver crosswalks. Overhead utilities will be relocated.
The Master Plan also recommends closing a section of East Lassiter Street to create a plaza area between two historic buildings and adjoining Main Street. Lassiter Plaza will become a special event space and a place for residents and visitors to gather and meet.
A thorough public engagement strategy, led by WithersRavenel, allowed the design team to create a town-wide vision for the project that was enthusiastically approved and adopted by the Town. Residents and business owners participated in visioning exercises, surveys, and workshops to provide feedback on the vision and the final plan.
Working with the Town’s Economic Development Director, WithersRavenel aided in applying for a series of grants to assist in covering the costs of the master plan study and the initial phase of construction. The Implementation Strategy for the Four Oaks Downtown Streetscape Master Plan includes three phases, including coordination with Duke Energy and the NCDOT.