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Gastonia is a city in North Carolinamarker, United Statesmarker. It is the county seat and largest city of Gaston Countymarker. The population was 66,277 according to the 2000 census (35% of the population of Gaston County). It is part of the Charlotte metropolitan area, officially designated the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As the second-largest city (in population) in the MSA after Charlottemarker, Gastonia has experienced steady growth, with a population change during the 1990s (according the US Census Bureau) of more than +10%.

Geography

Gastonia is located at (35.255220, -81.180249). at the geographic center of Gaston County.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 46.3 square miles (119.8 km²), of which, 46.1 square miles (119.3 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (0.43%) is water. It occupies 13% of the total area of Gaston County.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 66,277 people, 25,945 households, and 17,720 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,438.9 people per square mile (555.6/km²). There were 27,857 housing units at an average density of 604.8/sq mi (233.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.18% White, 25.62% African American, 0.21% Native American, 1.17% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.76% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.45% of the population.

There were 25,945 households out of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.3% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,924, and the median income for a family was $44,873. Males had a median income of $33,215 versus $24,173 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,592. 15.0% of the population and 11.8% of families were below the poverty line. 21.2% of those under the and 12.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Economy

Despite many shutdowns and job losses over the past decade, Gastonia maintains a relatively strong manufacturing workforce.The city was the international corporate headquarters for textile company Parkdale Mills, the number one manufacturer of spun yarn in the world. The company also operated two production facilities in Gastonia and several in surrounding communities.

Other manufacturers in Gastonia include Wix Filtration Corp., Freightliner LLC, Stabilus, Danaher Tool Group (Easco Hand Tools), and Curtiss-Wright Controls Engineered Systems and Radici Group. Other major employers include the City of Gastonia and Gaston County governments, the Gaston County Schools system, Caromont Healthcare (Gaston Memorial Hospital), and retailers Walmartmarker and Advance Auto Parts with two and six stores (plus a distribution center), respectively.

Public services

Police force: Gastonia and Gaston County are home of one of two county police forces within the State of North Carolina, the Gaston County Police Department. The other county police force in NC is the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police in neighboring Mecklenburg County. Other forces include City of Gastonia Police Department and the Gaston County Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office holds two of only 25 bomb/drug dogs in North Carolinamarker.

Fire/Rescue: The Gastonia Fire Department houses over 32 engines including ladder units, quints, and pumpers. Gastonia also has a strong rural fire department which is headed by volunteers.

The Gaston County EMS : Includes a few understaffed paramedic ambulances and the Gaston County Life Saving crew, a BLS (Basic Lifesaving Service).

Public works: This includes road maintenance and sanitation as well as DWP (department of water and power) to the city.

Attractions and institutions

Gastonia and surrounding areas are home to several notable cultural centers.

The Schiele Museum of Natural History is east of downtown on Garrison Boulevard. The main branch of the Gaston-Lincoln Regional Library System is across the street from the Schiele Museum. The Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardenmarker is located just southeast of the city on NC 279. The U.S.marker National Whitewater Centermarker (on the Catawba River) is east of the city in neighboring Mecklenburg County, NC. Southpark Mall in Charlotte, NC is 45 minutes away. The Northlake Mall, also in Charlotte, is about 20 minutes away.

Gastonia and Gaston County have a varied topography, with the maximum elevations of 1,690 feet (King's Pinnaclemarker) and 1,625 (Crowder's Mountainmarker) both in the Crowders Mountain State Parkmarker. Part of this park is in the city limits of Gastonia, several miles west of downtown. The park and the peaks are popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts and are the highest elevations in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concordmarker Metropolitan Statistical Area. A few smaller mountains are located at the periphery of the city.

Gastonia is known for its abundance of churches, primarily Baptist and Methodist.

Notable residents

The following people are former or current residents of Gastonia:

Education

K-12

All public K-12 schools in Gaston County, including the city of Gastonia, are part of the Gaston County Schools (GCS). GCS operates schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

There are 10 public high schools in Gaston County--Ashbrook High Schoolmarker, Forestview High Schoolmarker, Hunter Huss High Schoolmarker, East Gaston High Schoolmarker, North Gaston High Schoolmarker, South Point High School, Cherryville High Schoolmarker, Bessemer City High Schoolmarker, and the Highland School of Technologymarker.

Private schools are also available in the city. Gaston Day School, Gaston Christian School and First Assembly Christian Academy (FACA) are among various private schools offered in the Gastonia area.

Gastonia also has a charter school, Piedmont Community Charter School, that serves K-12 grade students.

College and university

Although there are no colleges or universities within the city limits of Gastonia, higher education is well represented in the greater Gastonia area. Gaston County is home to Belmont Abbey College (Belmont; 4-year) and Gaston College (Dallas, Lincolnton (Lincoln County), and Belmont; 2-year).

Sister Cities

Gastonia has two sister cities:


Gotha was Gastonia's first sister city in 1994. Santiago de Surco became an official partner in March 2004. Mayor Jenny Stultz visited Gotha in 2007. In December 2007, the mayor of Santiago de Surco visited for the annual lighting of the Christmas tree in the Rotary Pavilion. He was invited to light the tree along with one of the town's councilmen.

Shopping

Today, there are two major shopping centers in Gastonia:

Westfield Eastridge is a large regional mall and is anchored by Matthews Belk, Dillard's, Sears, and JC Penney.The mall is also home to 100 specialty stores along with a full-service Food Court. Westfield Eastridge

Along with Westfield Eastridge, Franklin Square is the other one of Gastonia's premier shopping centers. The complex is divided into three Phases. Phase I features a Wal-Martmarker (one of two in the city), Best Buy, Ross Dress for Less, and Michaels. Phase II is home to Kmart, Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, and Sam's Club. Phase III is where Kohl's, Old Navy, Books-A-Million, Sports Authority, BERNINA dealer SewMuchFun! and a 14-screen movie theater is located. The new Shops at Franklin Square is home of hhgregg, T-Mobile, Ashley Furniture Home Store, Cutting Image Salon, The Original Flip Flops Bar and Grill and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.

The Gaston Mall, which is currently in the process of a redevelopment that will possibly include a new Target, houses a large and popular fabric store called Mary Jo's, and one of the oldest operating Harris Teeter grocery stores in the chain. The mall also housed a popular local restaurant called Jacksons Cafeteria. It has since been moved. The shopping center recently opened a McAllisters Deli and AT&T store.

Sports

The Gastonia Grizzlies play baseball at Sims Legion Parkmarker. The team is part of the Coastal Plain League (CPL) featuring players at the collegiate level. The season runs from the end of May to August.

The Gastonia Gargoyles play rugby at Gaston County's North Belmont Park. The team is part of the North Carolina Rugby Union (NCRU) and plays Division III men's rugby. The club plays in the fall (August - November) and spring (Feb - May) seasons. The club also hosts an annual rugby 7's tournament in Clover, SC during the Clover Scottish Games on the first Saturday in June.

Media

Newspaper

The Gaston Gazette is Gastonia's main newspaper. It is published daily, and covers Gastonia city, Gaston County, and surrounding areas. The Charlotte Observer (North Carolina's largest newspaper) is also available and features a Gaston/Lincoln section on Wednesdays and Sundays. Gastonia News Gastonia's online up to the minute news source

Television

Gastonia has no broadcast television stations licensed in the city, but is served by network affiliates and independent stations broadcasting from nearby Charlotte. Cable television service in Gastonia is provided primarily by Time Warner Cable.

Radio

Gastonia is served by numerous FM and AM radio stations, mainly based in nearby Charlotte. The city has two licensed AM stations: WGASmarker 1420 AM licensed to South Gastonia and WGNCmarker 1450 AM; it has one licensed FM station: WBAV 101.9 FM.

Transportation

Highways and major city thoroughfares

Interstate 85 (I-85) links Gastonia directly with Charlottemarker, Greensboromarker, Durhammarker, and Petersburgmarker/Richmondmarker (to the north) and Spartanburgmarker, Greenvillemarker, Atlantamarker and Montgomerymarker (to the south). Gastonia's transportation network is supplemented by one additional freeway (US 321), the freeway portion of which directly connects Gastonia with transcontinental I-40 and the city of Hickorymarker, North Carolinamarker, which is 35 miles north of Gastonia. An additional limited-access highway, the toll Garden Parkway is planned as a loop that would encircle Gastonia to the west, while also adding a direct southeastern connection to Charlotte, I-485 and the Charlotte/Douglas International Airportmarker.Gastonia is also served by three US highways: US 29; US 74 (US 29 and 74 are multiplexed together through Gaston County); and US 321. US 29 parallels I-85 through the Carolinas; while US 74 provides direct east-west links to Charlotte and Wilmingtonmarker (east), and Ashevillemarker and Cherokeemarker (to the west). US 321 links Gastonia to central South Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwest North Carolina.

State highways NC 7, NC 274, NC 275 and NC 279 also traverse Gastonia.

Franklin Blvd., Garrison Blvd., Hudson Blvd., and Ozark/Long/Airline/Gaston Aves. are major east-west city thoroughfares. New Hope Rd., Chester St./York Rd., and Marietta St., are major north-south city thoroughfares.

Bus (local)

Gastonia Transit (GT) is Gastonia's city transit provider. The bus service operates on a fixed-route system covering most of the city. GT has a new fleet of seven buses and stops are clearly visible around town. Buses run Monday-Saturday, and transfer downtown Gastonia at the Bradley Station. Regular fare is $1.00, transfers are free.

Bus (regional)

Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is Gastonia's commuter provider to Charlotte. The Gastonia Express (Route 85X) offers Monday-Friday bus service to/from uptown Charlotte, via the Bradley Station. One-way fare to/from uptown Charlotte: $3.00; transfer is free when transferring to any other CATS services.

Bus (intercity)

Greyhound Lines is Gastonia's intrastate/interstate transit provider. The bus station is located on Davis St., just east of downtown. The station was staffed up until Friday, October 30, 2009. However, buses continue to stop at the building to pick-up and drop-off passengers.

Train (Amtrak)

Amtrak Crescent (trains 19, 20) connects Gastonia (GAS) with the cities of (to the north) New Yorkmarker, Philadelphiamarker, Baltimoremarker, Washingtonmarker, Charlottemarker, and (to the south) Atlantamarker, Birminghammarker, New Orleansmarker. The unmanned Amtrak stationmarker is situated at 350 Hancock Street.

Air

The Gastonia area is served by two airports. The Gastonia Municipal Airportmarker (AKH) handles most of the city's private air service needs. It is located in the southeast part of the city, off NC 274. The Charlotte/Douglas International Airportmarker (CLT) provides Gastonia with a major domestic/international gateway and is located 18 miles east of Gastonia in Charlotte.

See also



References

  1. Gaston County Employers - 4th Quarter 2007. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.


External links




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