Let me first preface this article by telling you that this is an apolitical post. Nothing about what I am going to say has anything to do with Democrat or Republican view points and is entirely focused on one very large convention and what it means for our city. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, for those of us living in the queen city, there has been more spotlight on Charlotte in the last five days than probably ever before.
For some people, this convention has been nothing but a headache with the closed roads, crowded airports and extra traffic. For others, it’s been a chance to see your hometown on the national, even global, stage. Tuesday night, I ventured downtown just to check out some of the mayhem. I have to tell you, it was quite an interesting experience. Unfortunately, the weather was less than ideal as it rained for the better part of the four hours I spent up/downtown. Here are a few things I personally can see as a result of Charlotte hosting the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
1. We can finally drop the comma N.C. For those of us that are Charlotte natives, we’ve watched our city grow and prosper for years, but have never quite been able to fully earn the stand alone city name. Now, thanks to the DNC, I’m finally hearing it referred to as just Charlotte at a national level. I have to admit that I’m convinced this is also partially attributed to the hit television show, The Bachelorette, being filmed here earlier this year…but that’s just my opinion.
2. We have a really great light rail system! This obviously has nothing to do with us hosting the DNC, but I think we’ve gotten a chance to finally show off this transit system over the past week. I personally rode on the light rail for the very first time on Tuesday. I wish it was larger and ran closer to where I live, but for what it is, it’s a very clean, efficient, high tech system I hope we start taking more advantage of.
3. We will forever be the city that can’t get our uptown/downtown straight. Growing up in Charlotte, I’ve used the terms interchangeably for years and thought very little of it. However, now that the late night comedy shows have had their laughs at our various quirks, it has come to pretty much everyone’s attention how silly that is.
4. We have a pretty impressive police force. At least in my lifetime, there have been very few occasions that called for massive use of law enforcement, until now. During my stroll through downtown the other night, I witnessed Charlotte’s law enforcement in full capacity. What appeared to be as many as 300 police officers on foot and bike were dispatched to control protest groups. What could have turned into a much more volatile situation was kept relatively peaceful, thanks to these individuals. It was very clear that protocol for this event had been planned and practiced months in advance.
5. We actually live in a pretty great city. I mean we obviously have something going for us other than just being a battleground state to bring a national party convention to our doorstep. So far, for the most part, Charlotte has been given pretty high marks by visitors and delegates of the convention. Besides the weather this week, which is out of our control, we have a lot to offer. Good food, great hospitality and a whole lot of wonderful people.
Marketing Assistant, FSIoffice