No matter how you slice it, 2018 was a very good year for High Point, the county’s second largest city.

While High Point, for well over a century, has been known to have a bad case of “Greensboro-envy” in many regards – the 12 months of 2018 did a lot to lift High Point up on the “livability” scale, including an increase of amenities, bars and restaurants, attractions and services available to those who live there.

Five years ago, High Point residents complained that they had to travel to Greensboro for real dining options or to get many county services, but that’s all changing.

In October, for instance, High Point finally got something city officials had wanted for about six years – ever since one was announced for Greensboro: a Guilford County Family Justice Center.  Now, victims of domestic violence or related crimes in the High Point area have access to the same service available in Greensboro where legal, medical and social services help can be provided in a “one-stop” location.

High Point will also, like its big neighbor to the northeast, soon have its own downtown baseball stadium – something else Greensboro has had for years that many High Point residents have wanted to see in their city.  This past year was High Point’s rainiest in the history of weather tracking, but, still, the construction of the stadium is on schedule, and BB&T Point, as it’s called, is expected to be ready for the first pitch to be thrown out in early May 2019.

High Point officials say the rest of the city’s downtown development also went very well in 2018.

Former High Point Mayor Bill Bencini said he’s been extremely pleased with the transformation that’s taking place in downtown and, really, across the city as a whole.  He said that’s especially true of the growth in entertainment and restaurants and added that he was particularly delighted with new barbeque choices to name one popular food category.

Current High Point Mayor Jay Wagner said he gives a lot of credit to High Point City Manager Greg Demko, who, he said, has been able to keep the city operating smoothly this year while so much was going on.

“The manager is doing a great job running the city,” Wagner said.

Demko said that, given all the new growth in 2018, he does feel like the city is finally hitting stride and the successes are reaching a critical mass that’s generating new successes.  Demko said downtown redevelopment is at the center of everything.

“It all boils down to the core of the city,” Demko said. “It was declining but now people are coming to us wanting to invest.”

Sweet Old Bill’s is just one of the highly touted restaurants that opened in High Point in 2018. Wagner claimed shortly after it did that he ate there about six of the first seven days it was in business.

Brewer’s Kettle, a brewery and restaurant, expanded in 2018, and Blue Magnolia started a $1-million 8,000-square-foot restaurant project in the city as well. Wicked Taco is another eatery choice that High Point residents now have that they didn’t have at the start of the year.  There are also new and expanded coffee shops throughout town, as well as a new Country Barbeque and new grocery stores and shops.

In late 2018, High Point also got some unexpected notoriety in the November election when High Point native Danny Rogers won the job of Guilford County sheriff.  Rogers lives in Jamestown, but his election and the aftermath put the focus of attention solidly on High Point. He moved his swearing-in ceremony from the Old Guilford County Court House in Greensboro to the Guilford County Courthouse in downtown High Point, and he later announced plans to push for a new Sheriff’s Department headquarters in High Point.

Rogers said High Point citizens currently feel “detached” from the Sheriff’s Department since the department doesn’t have an office there and he added that the department needs to put more emphasis on that part of the county.

High Point saw an expansion of plenty of other county services over the last 12 months, including a new health clinic focused on teen health and preventing teen pregnancy.   Even when Guilford County began a new free, respectful flag disposal service for old and tattered flags, county officials made sure that High Point got a drop-off box just like Greensboro did.