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Council blesses underpass beautification

The Charlotte City Council voted unanimously Monday to request approval from the state transportation department to enhance the Interstate 77 underpass on West Trade Street with colorful lights.

The underpass lighting is a first step in a plan to revitalize the northwest corridor along Beatties Ford Road. On March 4, state Sen. Malcolm Graham presented to the council a plan that included the redevelopment of the “five-corners” intersection near Johnson C. Smith University.

The university will provide $75,000 for the project, while the city has allocated $125,000 in Public Art Ordinance funds from the fiscal 2009 and 2010 budgets toward art in business corridors.

The state transportation department passed a policy in December allowing for the placement of art on public rights of way. The lighting project is the first art project in the state to seek state transportation department approval under the new policy.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

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