I showed up to welcome my 6:45 am volunteer staff this morning at the Residence Inn and found out that all the shifts today had been cancelled. I was not surprised, I knew the later shifts were cut, but thought we would be there for the mass exodus.
As I was scooting over to the hotel, it was just getting light, sort of. There was a fog that hid most of the buildings from view. Gone were the orange cones funneling traffic, gone were the fences surrounding non-convention buildings, gone were the cops from every corner, the motorcycle cops, the bike cops, etc. The city was remarkably clean!
The hotel staff greeted me with a sense of relief that I haven't seen since I was draft age and a friend had received a deferment from serving. Kind of like the battle was over and they had survived.
The delegation at the Residence Inn was from Colorado. I have a sister there, and we exchanged stories about Pearl Street Mall, McGuckins Hardware, Phanthom Canyon, etc. That was fun.
And, now it is all over.
Charlotte will go back to building itself as an important city in the south, the convention certainly helped with that. Restaurants and residents will return to there daily activities, buses will return to their schedules, life will return to normal.
But it will not be the same normal. The world has seen that we have a bright, clean, prosperous city. They will have met some of the 15,000 volunteers who's primary function was to smile and answer or get answers for our guests, a friendly city. All these little acts will leave an impression.
Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, partly because of the businesses located here, partly because of our geographic location, and partly because we do not have the same degree of infrastructure decay that many northern cities have. The convention will increase the rate of growth going forward.