Downtown Chapel Hill

Partnership Projects


The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership is committed to improving our downtown district by providing meaningful services, creating dynamic special events, and implementing programs that serve the whole community.

  • Advocate for businesses and property owners on issues and challenges affecting them
  • Serve as liaison between the downtown businesses and the Town, UNC, and the community
  • Lead and manage the downtown though creating the Downtown Framework & Action Plan (DRAFT status currently); and other community processes like the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan
  • Partner with community organizations to implement programming and events to benefit the downtown community (like Good Neighbor Initiative and Project Connect)
  • Maintain public database of available restaurant/retail/office properties for lease or sale
  • Assist property owner to identify and secure replacement tenants
  • Assist developers and businesses with the development review process and other land use issues
  • Communicate the successes and news of the entire downtown to the community.
  • Provide businesses with high-visibility, low-cost marketing promotions through our website, events calendar, and marketing emails.
  • Develop new and interactive tools to increase patrons to our downtown; like the Explore Chapel Hll mobile app and parking guide.
  • Offer resources to potential businesses through our How to Open A Business in Downtown Chapel Hill Guide
  • Promote partnership between businesses and the UNC community
  • Create and distribute the free and very popular Downtown Business Guide & Map
  • Provide cross-communication opportunities between UNC, the Town, and businesses
  • Manage the Downtown Valet Parking program for 17 businesses to provide FREE valet parking to their patrons
  • Coordinate the LOCALLY GROWN Movie & Music summer series with the Town's Parks & Recreations Dept.
  • Maintain the 65 raised-brick planters downtown and implement cleanliness initiatives like installing five permanent cigarette litter receptacles downtown.
  • Partner with the Town to administer the Small Arts Business Loan that has launched the FRANK Gallery.
  • Coordinate holiday programming including installing & lighting the tree, installing the snowflake decorations, and the holiday concert
  • Coordinate the banner program for the light poles.

Detailed descriptions of our programs and services are below. If you have questions about specific services or programs, please let us know! Call us at 919-967-9440 or email Meg at 

Real Change From Spare Change

Real Change From Spare Change is a community-wide, collaborative initiative designed to educate, encourage, and  empower Chapel Hill and Carrboro citizens, and the UNC community to evoke real change for those in need.  Real Change From Spare Change raises funds to continue the street outreach work that is currently being done in Orange County and educate the community on the issues of homelessness and panhandling in Chapel Hill. For complete details please visit the Real Change from Spare Change website.

Click here for creative and fun ways to be a part of Real Change from Spare Change and our communities efforts to address the issues of panhandling and homelessness in Chapel Hill. 

Business or organizations that are interested in helping to promote the initiative are encouraged to endorse Real Change from Spare Change.  

PROJECT CONNECT- The Downtown Partnership has been involved with this annual event since it's beginning in Orange County in 2007. The event is a one-day, one-stop center to provide a broad range of services to people facing homelessness including health and dental care, mental health care, employment, legal services, social services, housing, veterans services, and more. Project Connect unites local homeless service agencies to meet people’s needs and effectively work towards ending and preventing homelessness in Orange County.  Visit

Painted Walls Project

Blue Mural.jpg

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill and the Chapel Hill Historical Society have embarked on a mural restoration project to catalog and restore the murals of downtown Chapel Hill. Downtown Chapel Hill boasts twenty hand-painted murals by local artist Michael Brown. The first public mural by Michael Brown was painted in 1989 on the back of a privately owned building; the mural is visible from the corner of Rosemary Street and Columbia Street. Simply titled “The Blue Mural”, it depicts a nighttime scene of Franklin Street.  Since then Michael Brown has painted creative and beautiful murals all around downtown Chapel Hill. Anyone who has ever walked, driven or bicycled in downtown Chapel Hill has seen these murals. They are cultural fixtures of our community that make the downtown come alive in colors, figures and patterns. To support the Painted Walls Project please visit

Below are links to articles that have recently been featured in the Chapel Hill News about the project:

Mural's Days Numbered? (PDF)  
The Turtles, 1993 (PDF)
The Handprints, 1970 (PDF)
The Blue Mural, 1989 (PDF)
Mural, Mural on the Wall: Editorial (PDF)
The Pencil Mural, 1991 (PDF)
The Parade, 1977 (PDF)
The Puzzle Pieces, 1999 (PDF)
Why We Should Save Our Murals (PDF)

Touch Downtown Chapel Hill

It's your school. Your team. Your town. So why not make it your day? There's a lot to do all around Chapel Hill, so stay and play on game day.

Touch Downtown Chapel Hill encourages football fans to start early and stay late in Chapel Hill after the game ends and enjoy nearly 100 restaurants, 50 specialty stores and a mile of family cultural attractions with a dedicated bus shuttle bringing fans on a loop from their car, to downtown, to the stadium...and back!
Touch Downtown Chapel Hill is a joint partnership among the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Chapel Hill, UNC Department of Athletics, UNC Rams Club, Tar Heel Sports Properties and the UNC General Alumni Association.Visit for more information. jjj

Good Neighbor Initiative

The Downtown Partnership participates in the Good Neighbor Initiative at the beginning of the fall semester at UNC along with The Chapel Hill Police Department Community Services Unit, the Office of Student Affairs, UNC Local Relations Office, the student body government, and Empowerment Inc.

The goal of the initiative is to encourage students to meet their neighbors and to work with them to make Chapel Hill neighborhoods a place of pride and safety. Members of these organizations walk through the Northside, Pine Knolls and Cameron-McCauley neighborhoods, delivering packets to residents. The packets contain information concerning area services, garbage collection and recycling, local ordinances (including noise limits), alcohol laws and safety information. The Good Neighbor Initiative also hosts a community block for neighbors to meet each other, enjoy good food and play games. For more information please click here


Downtown Banner Program

In early 2007 the Partnership's Decorations Task Force  identified the need for a noticeable design change that would enhance the visual appeal of the downtown area and create a welcoming atmosphere for visitors. The first set of banners soon went up; welcoming everyone downtown in Carolina blue. The following year "TouchDowntown" Banners went up promoting game day activities downtown and on campus. The Partnership continues to manage the banner program as banners are rotated on display every quarter. 

Downtown Valet Parking Service

The Downtown Valet Parking Service began in January 2007 and is managed by the Downtown Partnership. The service is available Monday to Saturday from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm and is operated by Royal Parking, Inc. Courtesy Valet Parking is provided to patrons of participating businesses with a validated parking receipt. Downtown visitors enjoying other establishments can also use the valet service for a $5.00 charge. Drop cars off at the Valet Parking stand located in front of the UNC Information Technology building (440 West Franklin Street), near the West End Wine Bar. Parking is always FREE in Downtown Chapel Hill every Sunday!

Downtown Events & Sales Emails

The Downtown Partnership sends out a weekly email highlighting all of the events, sales, and promotions that are taking place each weekend in and around Downtown Chapel Hill. The emails are a great opportunity for downtown merchants to highlight their businesses and for the community to find out about all of the amazing events going on in the downtown. To sign up for the emails - click here! Downtown businesses and organizations may submit information for the weekly emails by emailing Meg at 

Cleanliness and Safety Initiatives

CLEANLINESS -The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership is committed to improving downtown cleanliness. The Town of Chapel Hill hired a Downtown Groundskeeper in 2006 to maintain public property with in the Downtown Service District.  In 2007 the Downtown Partnership hired a groundskeeper that maintains the 65 raised brick planters that line the entire downtown district and works on improvement and design projects. Also, there are many opportunities for volunteers and groups to clean within the Downtown Service District.

SAFETY - Improving safety was identified as one of the top priorities for downtown businesses and visitors during surveys conducted in 2005 and 2006.  The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership is building public and private partners for a SAFER downtown. In 2006, the Town of Chapel Hill instituted a dedicated Downtown Police Unit.  Read the press release announcing the unit.


CodeRED Emergency Notification System
Chapel Hill Fire Department Expands Life Safety Division
Safety Survey
Agent to Act Form
Graffiti: Quick Questions
Fire Safety Tips
LED Exit Sign: Quick Questions  

Downtown Parking Study Information

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership in partnership with the Town of Chapel Hill hired the parking consulting firm of Rich & Associates to conduct the study. The study includes a current assessment of parking, an analysis of parking supply and demand, as well as parking promotions, management, policies and maintenance. The study makes recommendations on how to improve parking in the downtown.

To view the amended parking resolution submitted 3-16-09, please click here.
To view the FINAL Parking Study, please click here.
To view the Parking Study Findings and Recommendations, please click here.
To view the Parking Study Recommendations, please click here.

Cigarette Litter Prevention Program

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership was been awarded a grant from Keep America Beautiful for the last three years to address the growing issue of cigarette litter in Downtown Chapel Hill. After conducting a scan of cigarette litter in selected areas of the downtown; CHDP has installed five permanent cigarette litter receptacles to make our downtown a cleaner and greener environment for everyone! 

Downtown Chapel Hill Shines Bright Every Holiday Season

Starting with the installation of the holiday tree in the Memorial Garden at University Baptist Church on the corner of South Columbia Street and West Franklin Street in late November; we help the downtown shine bright for the holidays. The tree lighting ceremony is held on the Sunday after Thanksgiving every year and includes a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, a holiday concert from the University Baptist Church choir, and hot cocoa and candy canes! With the partnership of the Town of Chapel Hill we display the snowflake decorations from one end of Franklin Street to the other! And in 2011 we held the first Holiday Concert in the Memorial Garden. For a complete schedule of the holiday events, please visit the CHDP calendar.

Facade Incentive Grant Program 

The grant program was created to encourage private investment through the renovation of facades in Downtown Chapel Hill; to encourage good design that will serve as quality examples; and to preserve the architectural character that is unique to Chapel Hill. Any property or business owner of a building located within the Downtown Chapel Hill Municipal Service District is eligible to apply for funding provided the application is reviewed prior to construction.

Downtown Safety Kit

As part of the Partnership for a Safer Downtown, CHDP in partnership with the Chapel Hill Police Department is working to educate downtown businesses on ways to protect their buildings, employees and customers. All downtown businesses have received a safety kit providing the following information: