Parade Route, Legacy Programs, Extra Booze Day, and More as DNC Planning Takes Shape
With the Democratic National Convention now three months away, several planning efforts and ideas are starting to become reality.
The City of Charlotte has launched a site, DNCinfo.charlottenc.gov, to inform the public on local government services, transportation issues, public safety ordinances, and rules on free speech activities, as it all relates to the September convention. Most notably today, the City announced the Designated Parade Route for marches in uptown during the convention dates of September 4-6. The route, which will begin at Pearle Street Park and proceed along Baxter, McDowell, Stonewall, and Caldwell streets, and finally turn onto Third Street to end at Marshall Park, will give marchers (and protesters) views of Time Warner Cable Arena and Bank of America Stadium, sites of official DNC activities.
The City will also establish a Speakers Platform, a location where city-provided microphones and amplification equipment will be available to individuals and groups wishing to express their opinions. The application process for these measures began today and will last until June 27. A lottery will be held to determine the time slots individuals and organizations receive for each day. In its statement, the City also pointed out that sidewalks and parks, unless closed for security or logistical reasons, will be open and available to everyone for expressive activity. The key here, however, is that those security closures, which are being decided by the U.S. Secret Service, aren’t expected to be made public until closer to the convention.
That will leave a mark
The Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee has kicked off the convention legacy programs. Mayor Anthony Foxx created the four legacy programs to help ensure that the convention leaves a positive, lasting impact on the local region. Those legacies are: Healthy Children, Healthy Families; Youth Employment and Civic Education; Building a Broader, More Inclusive Economy; and Energy, Technology, and Sustainability.
They began rolling out those initiatives in events held last Wednesday through this Wednesday, including the “You Can, Make It Better” event at Piedmont Middle School; the launching of a community garden with Charlotte Community Health Clinic on Friday; the Kids Convention 2012 with GenerationNation on Saturday; and up next is the free Access to America Dialogue Series event this Wednesday. Several more events and partnerships are planned for throughout the summer.
Get in my belly
Harvest Moon Grille, the popular farm-to-table restaurant in uptown, recently announced the winner of its Signature Dish of Charlotte contest. And as of today, the Belly Bun, a pork belly sandwich on a corn cheddar biscuit, can be purchased on the lunch menu for $10. The Belly Bun was created by Peggy Luey, one of about 75 entries in the contest to create a dish to show off to DNC visitors. But the food democracy isn't over—the dish will continue to be served leading up to and through the convention only if it’s popular amongst diners in coming months. I hope to make it over to Harvest Moon Grille soon to try it—I tend to love food served on biscuits.
I’ll drink to that
It’s atrocious how divisive political parties have become. However, a bipartisan coalition of local legislators have introduced a bill to the N.C. House of Representatives that would allow the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) stores in Mecklenburg County to open on Labor Day Monday, for this year only, because of the Democratic National Convention. The state’s ABC stores are required to be closed on Sundays and five holidays, including Labor Day. Sticking to that law would mean that Charlotte restaurants, hotels, and caterers would have to go two days without being able to re-stock their liquor supplies, anticipating an increase in visitors and sales over Labor Day weekend right before the convention officially kicks off. It looks likely that the exception to the rule will pass, allowing us all to make a trip to the neighborhood ABC store on that Monday. DNC visitors are expected to contribute to an increase in alcohol sales by as much as $1 million dollars that week.