Wednesday, January 10, 2007

NASCAR news, and general newcomer feedback

The NASCAR Hall of Fame, anticipated to be one of Charlotte’s signature attractions when it opens in 2009, is ready to break ground.

That’s some of the news that came out of a recent presentation at the Main Library in uptown Charlotte, part of its occasional lunchtime discussion series. I recently wrote about the series, and an accompanying library exhibit on the history of Charlotte’s skyline, as useful events for newcomers to learn more about the area.

Winston Kelley, executive director of the hall, said the groundbreaking, scheduled for Jan. 25 at 3 p.m., is open to the public. In addition to the hall and an office tower, officials plan to build a NASCAR plaza that can be used for outdoor public events. The site is bordered by Brevard, Caldwell, Stonewall and Second streets in uptown.

Some background for the benefit of new arrivals: Charlotte competed against cities including Atlanta, Kansas City, Daytona Beach and Richmond to land the hall of fame, which officials estimate will generate $60 million annually in economic impact after it opens.

NASCAR itself is a $5.9 billion industry in North Carolina, where it employs an estimated 27,000. As Kelley pointed out: “While it’s a tremendous entertainment asset, it’s also an economic development asset.”


On to more general newcomer news:

This morning I appeared on “Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins” on WFAE (90.7 FM) to discuss how newcomers are transforming our area, along with Levine Museum of the New South historian Tom Hanchett.

I knew we could count on it being a hot topic, and sure enough, there was a steady stream of phone calls and e-mails from listeners. Here are some excerpts from the e-mails – feel free to send me your own thoughts:

--“I moved from northern VA about a year ago to Charlotte, and love living here. However, I do miss the sense of pride and excitement people in northern VA had about living in that area. So far I haven’t noticed much of that in Charlotte. It seems that a lot of newcomers to Charlotte still show some allegiance or pride in their own previous cities. A question I always ponder is what can we do to get more people proud of their new city, Charlotte, and create an atmosphere of pride and excitement about the city?”

--“My family moved to Concord at the end of 1990. What’s interesting is that we’ve lived there longer than about 40 percent of the current residents. So, for those who feel ‘alien’ – stick around. The growth rate will make you a native in 10 years; and you’ll be able to complain about all of the ‘newcomers.’”

--“A city is what you make it. If you come here expecting not to feel welcome, you will feel unwelcome. Charlotte is just as friendly as any other town; it’s all in your attitude.”

--“There is no such thing as a ‘Southern’ accent. Everyone else just talks funny.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was always hoping that NASCAR would create an African -American driver so we can have more black people show up at the race track; I was always wondering whether Blacks would fell uncomfortable around snuff, straw and baseball caps and tattoos all over people and maybe on their privates , I always wonder about that! But anyway, I do think we have to we have to make it a sport that all of us can enjoy. I wish they would start Euro type of racing here around the city streets or an track that is shaped diffrent with foriegn tyle of cars like Jaquar, corvette, maserati and ect.....

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corvette? Foreign style car? If the rest of the previous post didn't make the poster look like a fool, that last statement certainly did.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's so damn ironic that the majority of Nascar fans are total Redneck racists and now their holy shrine, The Nascar Hall of Fame, is being built on Martin Luther King Blvd.

Now that's a hoot.

6:15 AM  

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