CARRBORO — Jacquelyn Gist never thought she’d be proud to say that part of her legacy was a parking lot, but she is.
“It’s not something you consider a very big deal, but it was my initiative that led to the town parking lot on Greensboro and Carr streets,” Gist said.
The space was once planned for a mixed-used development, but when the economy went sour, the developer backed out of the plan and the town began renting the space for downtown parking.
Gist initiated the process to buy the property for an official town parking lot that is near restaurants, coffee shops, the Century Center and downtown shops, she said.
“The people who have businesses downtown and who frequent downtown were very much worried about losing that much parking,” Gist said.
A career counselor at UNC, Gist, 58, first won election to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen in 1989, and if re-elected, she would be serving her seventh term on the board.
“I love Carrboro,” Gist said. “I really love Carrboro. It’s where I want to spend the rest of my life. It’s where my friends live, and I want to make sure it’s a great place to live.”
On economic development issues, she said she was happy to be part of the group that brought Fleet Feet Sports, which has stores in 34 states, to site its corporate headquarters in downtown Carrboro and for Kalisher Hospitality Design Artwork to keep its headquarters in Carrboro.
“I’m also happy that we’ve been able to move forward with helping the Rogers Road community,” Gist said.
“Carrboro will be helping the Rogers Road community build a community center and resolve a long-standing issue on how best to help make the Rogers Road community whole again after having been the home to the landfill for a much longer time than had been anticipated,” Gist said.
“I know it’s not perfect, but I think we’re really making progress in the right direction,” she said.
Having built the downtown area into a vibrant arts and entertainment center, Gist said she hopes the town’s progressive and environmental values will make it attractive to consulting, marketing and research firms and other non-polluting employers that will bring more jobs and employees to enjoy the downtown atmosphere.
“That started way back with Jay Bryan, Ellie Kinnaird and Frances Shetley,” Gist said.
The idea was to build a creative community where people would want to live and grow their businesses.
“That becomes a place where forward-thinking organizations and startups want to come,” she said.