Buice column: Past and future: Lewisville looks to head off congestion; music festival strikes a chord

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 8, 2019

Ask most anyone in Lewisville, and they’ll gladly tell you they enjoy the laid-back, rural feel of life and want to keep it that way.

In fact, I recall hearing Hank Perkins, the town manager of Lewisville, discuss “bigger not necessarily being better” and being “little brother” to Winston-Salem and, to a lesser degree, Clemmons, in last year’s first-ever joint meeting of the Rotary Club of Clemmons and the Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce.

Here’s what he said: “We’re a little bit different in Lewisville. We sort of take a different tact in our growth. We pride ourselves on being a laid-back community in a rural setting. It’s also a place that’s a residential area where people enjoy what Clemmons has to offer and enjoy what the big city of Winston-Salem has to offer. We don’t really see a lot of retail growth in Lewisville mainly because our population migrates out, probably 90 percent outside of Lewisville during the day, and then grows at night again.”

So it was no surprise that when town officials started looking at future transportation needs down the road not long after incorporation, they cast a wary eye to the south. There, they saw how things went in rapidly growing Clemmons, when the main stretch of Lewisville-Clemmons Road was expanded from two lanes to five lanes and how it eventually became a nightmare to navigate.

Knowing they would some day need more than Shallowford Road’s three lanes as the main thoroughfare through town, Lewisville started looking for a different solution.

So that led to Great Wagon Road, which would serve as a second “main street” running parallel to Shallowford, and would be constructed when traffic volumes dictated the need.

That time is now, at least for NCDOT moving forward with finalizing plans for the road with a recent public meeting seeking final public input (see story on 1A).

The new road, which will measure just over a mile long with four roundabouts being part of the project, will provide a really cool downtown loop for a town that always looks to keep things under control.

As Perkins said, it will provide the “framework and the backbone of the downtown as it will exist” in the coming years while accommodating traffic and improving connectivity with a multimodal approach.

And Lewisville will continue do all it can to stay true to its roots.

• • • • •

As always, “An Appalachian Summer Festival” in Boone provides a wonderful mixture of music, theater, dance, visual arts, lectures and film events.

This was the 35th annual event, and it again was stacked with an impressive lineup from late June to early August appealing to the young and old alike.

I happen to fall in the latter category, so it’s probably no surprise that I opted to go with one of the “oldies” acts — choosing to head up the mountain on a sultry Saturday night in July to see Patti LaBelle.

Widely known as the queen of rock and soul, LaBelle has received claim for many songs, including “Lady Marmalade,” “When You Talk About Love,” “New Attitude” and the classic No. 1 duet with Michael McDonald, “On My Own.”

Much like it was several years ago when attending a summer concert at my alma mater featuring legendary bands Chicago and the Doobie Brothers, many of the attendees were on the north side of retirement age.

When I yearn to go to see these acts that were in their prime in my high school and college days, I sometimes forget that I have continued to age like they have.

However, most of the groups, like Chicago and the Doobie Brothers, have more newer members than originals.

As a solo artist, Patti LaBelle can’t be replaced like that, and she can still shriek like few can, especially at age 75, but some of those other mid-range and higher notes aren’t quite what they used to be.

Still, there’s no mistaking the voice, and Patti had an amazing band to accompany her along with talented background singers. It turned out to be a great night to enjoy the iconic singer put on an entertaining show on the stage at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.

I’m glad I finally got to see her and scratch off another name from the “must see” bucket list.