Connecting the Matthews Community: A Collaborative Success Story 

Centralina Community Economic Development team (CED) recently collaborated with the Town of Matthews on a sidewalk extension project near their popular downtown district. Allocated funding provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program allowed Centralina to work with the town to improve sidewalk infrastructure in order to provide a safe and accessible pathway for residents to access nearby local services.  

The project focused on North Ames Street, a popular area in the town where residents and visitors can grab coffee at the local cafes, a bite to eat at a restaurant or a drink with friends at nearby bars and breweries. Though the area is frequented often, existing sidewalks were not connected to the street, making it difficult for people to go out and about in this area safely and easily. Town officials determined that sidewalk space was essential in this area to ensure public safety and help support the local economy. North Ames Street is located in a HUD-qualified low-moderate income census track, which means it meets the main CDBG program criteria for funding eligibility towards program-specific projects through the CDBG entitlement program. Centralina’s CED team was called in to help implement funding for the project and provide support through the construction process.  

This multi-phase project included the design, acquisition and construction of approximately 450 linear feet of sidewalk and associated curbing and planting strips to provide adequate separation from the roadway in a low-income neighborhood in the Town of Matthews. The addition of more street parking in the area as a part of this project provided further benefits, as residents and visitors are now able to stay in the area longer and help eliminate existing traffic caused by previously limited parking availability. The improved sidewalk infrastructure is also a step towards a pedestrian-friendly downtown that’s accessible for multiple modes of transportation, one of the key visions of the town’s strategic plan. Dana Stoogenke, the Senior Transportation Planner for the Town of Matthews, was extensively involved in this process and has expressed excitement with the CED team on how the project has helped kick-off other efforts for beautification and accessibility in the area, such as pedestrian lights, public benches and rotating public art pieces.  

This project served as a valued example to the CED team and Centralina as whole on how collaboration in service delivery can help improve the lives of those in our member communities and boost their economic competitiveness through new opportunities. If your community is interested in working with the Centralina CED team on CDBG administration, downtown revitalization projects or other related services, please contact Christina Danis at