CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Walk through the streets of Uptown Charlotte less than a week before the Democratic National Convention gets underway, and you'll find state officials scrambling around trying to get everything prepared for their big week in the spotlight.
It is a sight reminiscent of a family scrambling around their home, cleaning up and preparing to play host to a big Thanksgiving dinner. Only instead of a family, it's the largest city in the Tar Heel State. And instead of a Thanksgiving dinner, it's one of the influential national gatherings in Charlotte history.
So it should come to no surprise that a lot state money is being funneled into initiatives designed to present Charlotte at its best -- $300,000 to be exact.
According to North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) spokeswoman Jen Thompson, money is being used from maintenance fund for the cleanup efforts on state-maintained areas. These efforts include fresh asphalt on uptown streets and plants along some freeways and around the airport.
Much of the clean-up efforts were already set to occur. However, DOT officials admit that the schedules were moved up to be completed in time for the DNC, which has a few Charlotte-born residents, including UNC Charlotte Junior William Kunz, upset.
Charlotte residents like Kunz were concerned the funds used to clean up the city were completed with DNC guests in mind, not the locals.
"I feel like the city of Charlotte is putting more emphasis on the DNC visitors than the residents right now, which is not right because we are the taxpayers," Kunz said. "It is unfair that the people we pay to support us are just using that money to impress out-of-towners."
This news is especially upsetting to Charlotte Republicans. Many of which are angry that the state maintenance fund is being used to support a convention with a liberal slant.
Once final days of the Democratic National Convention come to an end and the visitors begin to leave, the newly-paved roads and newly-planted greenery will remain. Charlotte locals will be able to benefit from the clean-up efforts for years to come.
But the fact remains that the Democratic National Convention put a deadline of transformations that Charlotte has witnessed throughout this year. Many Charlotteans are still concerned about how Charlotte officials will fix up the city in the future when a national convention isn't there to motivate them.