Town wants to capitalize on Miami game

Aug. 12, 2013 @ 04:13 PM

When UNC tees it up on Oct. 17 against Miami in a nationally televised football game, it will undoubtedly be one of the biggest contests of the season for the Tar Heels.
Town officials and downtown boosters are also hoping that game day will prove to be a big one for downtown merchants.
The town, UNC and the Downtown Partnership are working on a plan to draw fans downtown and to extend the national media coverage of the game from the UNC campus to West Franklin Street.   
Tentative plans call for closing Franklin Street from Columbia to Mallette from 4 p.m., to 7 p.m., and moving the popular Tar Heel Town pre-game festivities off campus and to downtown.
“We chose this location because closing it is the least disruptive to downtown and our services,” Town Manager Roger Stancil wrote in a letter to the Town Council. “We also believe that as 123 West Franklin comes alive, there will be a natural connection between its public space and the public space at 140 West Franklin and such events may be more common.”
Stancil said Meg McGurk, executive director of the Downtown Partnership, has been coordinating for the partnership and communicating with downtown property owners on the planning.       Meanwhile Rick Steinbacher, senior associate athletic director for external communications, has been representing UNC Athletics.     
Stancil said the costs of additional policing, street closure and extra operating costs for Chapel Hill Transit will be covered by UNC Athletics.
“We think this is an exciting collaboration that accomplishes some mutual interests,” Stancil said.