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Forward High Point, Inc. was formed six years ago by the City of High Point to spearhead the City Council’s Goals of bringing new investment, businesses, employees and residents into a quadrant of downtown that had been seeing a decline in business, activity and value. FHP took the lead in the development of a catalyst project (Multi-Use Stadium - Truist Point Stadium). During these past six years, FHP has operated primarily as a very proactive economic development organization.

The Stadium is in full operation and the initial development goals have been surpassed. This downtown area is seeing the steady influx of new investment, restaurants and offices; with substantial residential and hospitality projects planned. Forward High Point and the City of High Point agree that it is crucial that the organization take time to assess its goals and objectives, while looking to transform FHP into a more “typical” downtown development organization, with greater focus on urban environmental management, branding, and marketing. To that end, FHP is undertaking a strategic planning process for the downtown area, to lead the community’s efforts over the next 5-years and beyond.

The Strategic Plan will examine current economic development plans, community desires, physical and social assets, and existing organizational structures to make recommendations for FHP and the City of High Point to best meet the community’s vision for an inclusive, livable, healthy, family-friendly, economically vibrant, and exciting downtown. When complete, it will be used as a tool to help make policy decisions and promote downtown investment. FHP believes that downtown is the heart of the community and should be a place that is welcoming to all residents and visitors. The strategic planning process will provide an opportunity for the community to get involved and share their thoughts and ideas on the issues that matter most to the future of downtown.

Specifically, over the next six to eight months, the community will be able to participate through a community survey and downtown visioning workshops. The steps to create this shared vision and roadmap for the future are described in
more detail below. Please check back often or sign up for our email updates to know when the survey is available and when public meetings are scheduled. Thank you for your interest in moving High Point’s downtown forward!


Phase One – Downtown Assessment
This phase of the process will be completed by the end of the year, culminating with a workshop with the Board of Directors in January of 2023. The purpose of the Downtown Assessment is to identify the key issues and challenges for downtown. The assessment phase will include listening sessions with focus groups, a community survey, and a review of existing plans. At the conclusion of the first phase, the Downtown Assessment will be presented to the Board of Directors and posted on the FHP website.

Key Milestones for Phase One
October 2022 - Kickoff Meeting with Forward High Point Board of Directors
November 2022 – Listening Sessions with Downtown Focus Groups
November 2022 – Community Survey About Downtown High Point
December 2022 – Prepare Downtown Assessment
January 2023 – Present the Downtown Assessment


Phase Two – Downtown Visioning
After the completion of the Downtown Assessment, a series of visioning workshops will be held to receive input from the community on the future of downtown High Point. The first workshop will begin with a presentation of the Downtown Assessment to the community, and will be followed by a series of facilitated small group discussions to work through ideas and issues to craft a shared vision for the future of downtown.

Key Milestone for Phase Two
February 2023 – Facilitate Downtown Visioning Workshops


Phase Three – Downtown Strategic Plan
This final phase of the project will bring together the main ideas generated during Phases One and Two to develop a vision, guiding principles, and actions/strategies for inclusion in the Downtown Strategic Plan. The Plan will also provide recommendations on the overall downtown boundary, downtown program management, funding mechanisms (such as a Municipal Service District), and related implementation actions. The draft Strategic Plan will be reviewed with FHP and presented at a public meeting.

Key Milestones for Phase Three
February / March 2023 – Prepare Draft Strategic Plan
March / April 2023 – Review Draft Plan with FHP Board of Directors
May 2023 – Prepare and Present Downtown Strategic Plan to Public


About Benchmark Planning
Headquartered in Charlotte, Benchmark Planning is an urban planning consulting firm with a national client base. For 40 years, Benchmark has worked with communities to prepare and implement a wide range of planning studies, including downtown development and revitalization projects. Benchmark was selected by Forward High Point through a national RFP process to assist the organization with the development of the Strategic Plan. Benchmark’s team of planners and urban designers looks forward to working closely with Forward High Point to develop innovative solutions to strengthen the organization and facilitate continued growth in Downtown High Point.