This year marks 55 years that Centralina Regional Council has been in existence supporting municipalities and local governments in the region. To celebrate this momentous event, our Executive Director, Geraldine Gardner is leading a movement to visit each of our member governments, which just so happens to be a total of 55!
I had the privilege of visiting the City of Kannapolis which stands out as a shining example of progress and innovation. Under the leadership of Mayor Darrell Hinnant and City Manager Mike Legg, Kannapolis has made significant strides in its mission to revitalize its downtown. Over a decade of planning and investment has transformed the heart of the city into a thriving, walkable hub that the entire community can take pride in and enjoy. The city is also committed to improving transportation connections, specifically by rail to Charlotte and Raleigh and addressing affordable housing and homelessness challenges.
When asked about the essence of Kannapolis, Mayor Hinnant’s recommendation is to spend a day in Downtown Kannapolis. From its rich heritage at The Gem Theatre and NC Music Hall of Fame to the character of Atrium Health Ballpark and the many retail shops, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the local dining experience at The Chophouse and a sweet treat at My Sister’s Place which adds to the city’s charm. Not to be missed is the iconic Dale Earnhardt statue, the seven-time Winston Cup Champion is a well-known Kannapolis native and is located just off Main Street.
Downtown Kannapolis serves as a canvas for public art and murals which helps connect the new appearance to its textile roots. Finally, the North Carolina Research Campus which stands on the north end of downtown is an exploration center that focuses on health through nutrition and clinical research. Anchored by eight universities, private industries and entrepreneurs, it symbolizes the forward-looking approach that Kannapolis has implemented.
Kannapolis is a true embodiment of Centralina Regional Council’s mission, demonstrating the power of local communities working together to create thriving, sustainable, and vibrant places to live. As we celebrate Centralina’s 55 years of service, Kannapolis’ achievements stand as a testament to what can be accomplished through dedication and collaboration. Here’s to another 55 years of progress and prosperity for the region!
~Anna Lu Wilson, Centralina Economic Development District