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RALNATIVE

Downtown Morrisville

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Wow. Wasn't that long ago when Morrisville was just a wide spot in the road, with Billy Sauls as mayor (he used to own the gas station at the corner of US 70 and Westgate). Morrisville's population was 251 in 1980, 1022 in 1990. Downtown?? Now it's 24,732 and rocketing up.

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I drove through Morrisville a few months back, and I was curious to see its downtown.  I saw one incredibly underdeveloped intersection and I thought, "Really?  That's it?"

This will definitely be a welcome change for the town.  Seeing how rapidly it has grown in the past few years, it will be nice for the people of Morrisville to finally have a town center.

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They had something of a one intersection downtown until the late 80's or so. One house was moved west of the tracks...it had some historical cache and was in decent shape. The NE corner had a whole assemblage of house, store and old looking sheds and stuff. Perhaps twice the mass of old Carpenter, but no grid to speak of. Obviously the tracks and the volume on 54 would never allow that to fatten up any, so this is the next best outcome. Holly Springs is also making decent strides to create a small downtown out of a similar situation. Knightdale has totally eschewed there actual downtown when they moved Town Hall to a bland piece of land on the other side of 64. 

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If there is Durham-Raleigh commuter rail someday, surely there will be a stop in RTP and a stop in Cary. Another stop in between would make sense. Beautiful downtown Morrisville? 

In a timeframe much farther out, like 20-40 years, we might see commuter rail Raleigh-Knightdale-Wendell-Zebulon. Whether stations would be built in former "downtowns" or in undeveloped areas for park-and-ride lots, I don't think anyone has seriously studied. As in Morrisville, the ability of those main streets to handle hundreds of cars at rush-hour is unclear.

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