The City Walk, which will be developed along Main Avenue from Lenoir-Rhyne University through Downtown Hickory to 11th Street NW and up to Old Lenoir Road (future OLLE Art Walk), will continue the growth of company headquarters and professional jobs in the City’s central business district.
Businesses have already invested over $30 million in new entertainment, headquarters, and retail shops along Main Avenue between Lenoir-Rhyne University and Downtown Hickory. Great local companies, like Moretz Enterprises, Hollar Mill, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Transportation Insight, and Cornerstone United have invested and added jobs. One North Center, a $19 million mixed-use development directly along the City Walk path, opened in 2021 to expand downtown living opportunities.
By building a City Walk that will allow employees to easily connect to the university, shops, services, and their offices, as well as being a great place for all residents to enjoy, the City feels it can continue to attract company headquarters, as well as service and professional jobs, to the central business district to create a place where young adults want to work, live, and play.
In a special meeting held August 24, 2016, Hickory City Council voted unanimously to approve two design service contracts with Amec Foster Wheeler to design the City Walk and two gateways.
In December 2018, the City started relocating utilities and waterlines in preparation for City Walk. These relocations and infrastructure improvements along Main Avenue NW/NE were completed in 2019. Renovations to Union Square and the downtown block, a planned component of the City Walk project, started on April 8, 2019, and were completed on September 6, 2019.
In a special meeting on June 25, 2019, Hickory City Council awarded the final component of the City Walk construction to Neill Grading and Construction Co., Inc.
An official ground breaking for the City Walk was held on Monday, September 23, 2019, at 12 p.m., in front of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church.
On November 1, 2021, the City Walk's Third Street pedestrian bridge was dedicated and named as the Wyatt Bridge in special recognition of Frank (Burk) Wyatt’s contribution of time, talent, and resources to the success of the Hickory bond program as chair of the Bond Implementation Commission. During the event, a special tribute to the Bond Implementation Commission was unveiled along the City Walk in appreciation for the group's support and contribution to the bond program and its projects.
The City Walk is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by fall 2021.