In May of 2007, the City of Shelby completed its first City Center Master Plan with Mahan Rykiel. This plan outlined four key strategies for improving Uptown and the surrounding City Center area. Details of the plan outlined branding and marketing, catalyst projects to refocus uptown from a locals oriented place to a regional destination, physical improvements to improve connectivity, and organizational strategies to advance the plan.
The Shelby community including the City of Shelby and Cleveland County alongside key partners at the Uptown Shelby Association, Destination Cleveland County, and the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce have embraced the plan and pursued it with vigor. Major accomplishments since the completion of the original plan are almost too numerous to count. Highlights include the conversion of the old Cleveland County Courthouse into the Earl Scruggs Center – a state of the art interactive music education center that highlights Earl Scruggs himself and the music and culture of the region that brought him fame; the Don Gibson Theater that brings musical acts from across the United States to Uptown Shelby throughout the year; and the completion of the Foothills Farmers Market that attracts vendors from across the region to showcase their food and craft.
The private sector has responded with significant investment in Uptown Shelby. Longstanding businesses have expanded and moved, new businesses have joined the district, buildings have been purchased for renovation, and ongoing events and activities are driving customers to the district.
The result of these nonprofit, public, and private sector efforts have been a renewed sense of pride in Uptown Shelby, a sense that the community is ready to go to the next step in revitalization, and an acknowledgement that not every recommendation of the original plan has made it to realization. As a consequence, the City of Shelby endeavored to create an update to the 2007 plan also by Mahan Rykiel. This effort reflects a sincere desire to evaluate the current market conditions of Center City Shelby, look at new investment through the lens of current successes and opportunities, and make recommendations for the community to take Uptown Shelby and its surrounding neighborhoods to the next level.