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Horne Square Makes Downtown Better

Downtown Clayton looks better today than it did five years ago, largely due to the new Horne Square at the corner of Main and Lombard Streets, which opened last year.

Thats according to the “Picture Downtown" project recently completed by the Downtown Development Association. The award-winning park was named downtown's "biggest design strength," after being named the area's biggest problem in 2007 when it was still a dusty, unpaved parking lot.

Other top design "Strengths" for 2012 include the new Law Enforcement Center, Town Square and the recently constructed Mosaic Community Garden at 439 E Main Street. Also included in the top 10 was the Barbour Building Mural, The Clayton Center, Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library, the Coffee Mill, the Woman’s Club and Southern Traditions House at 115 E First Street.

“This project has been a great way to measure the visual improvements made in downtown over the past five years,” said the Association's Design Committee Chair Margaret Lee. “It also confirms the work done by business and property owners with encouragement and guidance from the CDDA and the Town of Clayton.”

The project involved 34 participants of all ages from throughout Clayton, including 6 Clayton High School students. Using disposable cameras, each participant took 9 photos of things they both liked and disliked about downtown Clayton. The photographs were taken between April 20 and May 14. The original “Picture Downtown" project took place five years ago, in spring of 2007.

Five panels of photographs representing the “likes” and “dislikes” is on exhibition in the lobby of The Clayton Center in a display prepared by Chris Hill, President of the Woman’s Club of Clayton.

The top downtown design "challenge," according to the group is the former Red & White Grocery building at 110 W Front Street. Other top design challenges include La Michoacana (218 E Main), the former Pittman Jewelers building (400 E Main), 406 E Main (used primarily for storage the past decade) and Clayton Mart at 208 E Main (because of the suburban setback and building style). Also included in the top 10 design challenges are the Laundromat and adjoining property in the upper 300 block of West Main, 222 E Main (Spencer Realty) and the unmarked nail salon at 318 E Second Street.

“Several of the owners whose properties have been identified as “challenges” have been in discussion with the CDDA on ways to improve those buildings, so we will see some changes in the near future,” said Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen.

Participants in “Picture Downtown 2012” were: Kaelin Amaya, Kelly Barnard, Joyce Blackley, Dianne Carroll, Diane Conroy, Jessica Creech, Sarah Edwards, Malinda Gowin, Betsy Grannis, Town Councilman Michael Grannis, Donnie & Julie Griffin, Gil Guillermo, Duncan Hales, Jan Hardison, Amanda Hatem, Chris Hill, Leslie Hubbard, Andy Lawter, Town Councilman Butch Lawter, Kim Lawter, Margaret Lee, Bonnie Light, James Lipscomb, Kim Loftin, John McFadden, Mary Medrek, Kimberly Naegelen, David Orringer, Kayla Orringer, Allie Orringer, Lorraine Perri, Adair Pickerd, Janie Prete, Richard Rairigh and Larry Strevig.

Horne Square won for "Best Outdoor Space Improvement" in this year's NC Main Street competition.