Twin Arches welcome residents, visitors to Downtown Winston-Salem
The city of Arts and Innovation just got a creative facelift on one of its main highways with the instillation of a unique piece of sculpture.
The Creative Corridors Coalition, a local group focused on making Winston-Salem’s infrastructure aesthetically pleasing, installed the Twin Arches at the intersection of U.S. 52 and Research Parkway on Saturday while roughly 100 people braved the cold wind to see the first piece of a major project come together.
John Rincic said the he came out because he loves his city and wanted to be a part of the growth and change he’d seen in the community, having lived there for 10 years.
“You see this, and after asking how much it costs, you recognize that it shows we are the city of Arts and Innovation and I’m proud of that,” he said. “It’s great just to know that our city is thriving and growing.”
Rincic said that he hopes the new improvements will attract new businesses and people to the city.
“We were tobacco for years and now you see more of a repurposing in the city. Hopefully it will attract businesses and well-educated people who want to live here,” Rincic said. “Anytime you help better your transportation services in and out of the city, you’re obviously going to have an impact on the economy.”
Anton Moussaev, local realtor and Rincic’s husband, agrees.
“Watching Winston-Salem grow for the last several years has been an amazing thing. From a real estate, prospective this is what makes our city attractive to those moving to the area.”
In 2014, CCC created a masterplan, through a grant procured from the National Endowments for the Arts and local matching funds, for six main projects that will be used to enhance the city of Winston-Salem: The Twin Arches, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive enhancements, a Strollway Pedestrian Bridge, the Green Street Pedestrian Bridge, the Peter’s Creek Parkway Bridge and various enhancements to the Business 40 corridor.
With the help of Stimmel Associates and feedback from the community, those plans are now coming into place beginning with the installation of the Twin Arches.
“It’s been exciting today to watch this happen. For us it is so important to see a physical manifestation of all the ideas that we’ve had for so long,” said Kristen Haaf, project manager for Creative Corridors. “This is going to be a gateway into downtown and it’s going to represent the connection that we’re trying to create across neighborhoods and our communities. We have people here of all ages, from all different neighborhoods around. I’m so excited about this for all communities. It’s truly amazing to be able to see this come together.”
Acting as a gateway to the southern area of Downtown, the arches will span the interchange where Research Parkway goes under US 52, leading to the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. The non-structural arches, outfitted with lights, were designed by bridge architect Donald MacDonald, known for his work on the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, S.C. MacDonald spent time in the city looking at the architecture and studying the Moravian Arts before coming up with the design.
The area is expected to see a high volume of traffic when Business 40 closes in the downtown area for construction in 2018.
The project, which is estimated to cost $1.65 million, is funded by an 80/20 match from the state, city and nonprofit. The state, through the federal government, will pay for 80 percent of the project, while the city and Creative Corridors will each contribute 10 percent. For Creative Corridors that would be $950,000 from its private funds.
South Ward Councilwoman Molly Leight said that it has been exciting to be a part of the transformation as a member of the Creative Corridors committee.
“This is just the beginning of much more to come. I think it’s wonderful that the people behind Creative Corridors had the vision of making highways something more than just boring highways -adding some art and light to it,” Leight said. “We have art that you can choose to go see but this is right there as a symbol of the city.”