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Lincolnton Enjoys Burst of Redevelopment and Retail Renaissance

Written By: Ken Elkins Monday, April 2, 2018

Lincolnton Mayor Ed Hatley at first likes the word “renaissance” when describing all the development and renovation going on downtown in the Lincoln County seat.  Then when he hears “paradigm shift” he latches on to that phase. It is an election year, after all, in the only incorporated city in Lincoln County, and Hatley is excited that craft beer is coming to Lincolnton.

Something — a metamorphosis, a resurgence or even a paradigm shift, whatever you want to call it — is going on in Lincolnton’s downtown. At least a dozen projects — brewpubs, antique and collectible shops, townhomes and loft apartments, a butcher shop and deli, a brick-oven pizza shop, restaurants, an interior design studio, an events-planning place and even a mermaid tail manufacturer — are planned there.

But, you may ask, why now? Why has the core of Lincolnton picked 2018 to host this frenzy of redevelopment and new construction?  There are couple of answers: a 2016 change in the city’s rules on bars and brewpubs, a collection of city grants to support small business and entrepreneurs, and an entirely new philosophy on investing in the city and working with building owners.  “We have changed our philosophy about investing in the community.” says City Manager Steve Zickefoose.

But the story of Lincolnton’s recovery dates to 2008 and the Great Recession, when Lincoln Economic Development Association did their own paradigm shift and challenged Rhonda Hunter, Entrepreneur Specialist to promote small businesses and entrepreneurs and she continues to this day working with them to help bring their plans to fruition and breathe new life into the downtown area.

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