Bonds in review

by the staff

International Civil Rights Museum (YES)

Naysayers have every right to boo this $5 million ballot item, requested by executives at the International Civil Rights Museum as a bailout, er’… matching grant to fund completion of the stalled project. Museum leaders have disappointed city residents and politicians time and time again with their inability to get this venture off the ground. The International Civil Rights Museum faces stiff competition for funding from similar projects in Virginia, Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala. The bottom line is that if this bond fails, Greensboro might lose the opportunity to memorialize this city’s best moment and greatest contribution to American history. And that would be a terrible shame.

Aquatic Center (NO)

Greensboro needs all the help it can get, fitness wise. But this is not the year to go splurging on a $9 million project that will, in all likelihood, mostly benefit the state’s competitive swimmers. We hear the city recently installed some fine looking bike lanes. If you’re looking to exercise, try giving those a spin. They’re much cheaper.

Public building renovation (NO)

Municipal bonds were designed to cover big-ticket items that couldn’t be paid for by annual tax revenues. Maintenance to the cement boxes that house our city’s inner workings does not fall into that category, $5 million price tag or no. We hate to be punitive, but a no vote on this item might encourage a little more foresight when the city council convenes for next year’s budget.

Fire stations (NO)

This $24.5 million bond is the second costliest facing voters this election season. Fire stations are a public service any growing city should anticipate and budget for. City leaders should take this opportunity to explore alternative financing schemes – we hear firefighter calendars can be very lucrative.

War Memorial Stadium (YES)

When downtown boosters started peddling the downtown baseball stadium now known as First Horizon Park, many assurances were made that the city would not forget the now-vacant stadium on the other side of town. Old-timers and Pony leaguers alike have fond memories of this dilapidated structure. A ‘yes’ vote on this $5.5 million item means the city keeps its promises, and east Greensboro keeps one of the nicest corners in town.

War Memorial Auditorium (YES)

If you’ve ever attended a cultural event in War Memorial Auditorium, then you know how badly the facility needs an upgrade. Muddy sound, substandard dressing rooms and bathrooms inaccessible to people with disabilities are just a handful of the hall’s problems. This is our premier performing arts facility, and it needs help. The city took responsibility for this facility long ago, and $36 million for its upkeep is much less than we’d be paying to build and staff a brand new concert hall.

Neighborhood redevelopment (YES)

This is a teensy weensy little bond item (only $850,000), and one that will fund the development of safe and affordable housing within spitting distance of downtown (where affordable housing is quickly disappearing). It’s long overdue, the redevelopment of the historic Ole Asheboro neighborhood started in the late 1970s. It’s up to us to finish it.

Greensboro Historical Museum (YES)

This museum just affiliated with the Smithsonian, a credential that should make all of Greensboro proud. Exhibits are housed in the old Civil War hospital, a building owned by the city. The $5.3 million investment to upgrade collections and facilities will pay dividends later.

Economic development (NO)

We’re inclined to agree with City Councilman Tom Phillips on this one. The open-ended plan to develop as-yet-unnamed parcels of land for industrial development strikes us as a slush fund, too. We think the citizens of Greensboro can find more productive ways to spend $10 million than by waving it under the noses of fickle corporate suitors.

Libraries (YES)

Few public services strike us as more worthy of monetary support than the archiving and dissemination of knowledge. Greensboro has a beautiful central library; now it’s time to throw a little support to the branches. Part of this $8.6 million bond will fund the reopening of a satellite on the eastern fringe of town. The rest will bulk up what is already a vital and exemplary city department.

Parks and recreation (YES)

Greensboro is known for its green spaces. Those rusty on their Revolutionary War history often think the lush landscape contributed to the naming of our fair burg. Support for public parks is part of both our history and legacy, and for a collective $5 million, we can help keep it that way. We’re also kinda stoked that this bond will pay for a skateboard park.