It will surely come

The ground breaking of the Renaissance Shops on Phillips Avenue project is a big step for equitable growth in Greensboro.

The words “food desert” have been uttered so many times locally the last few years that it’s understandable if our more well-to-do neighbors scoff at the term. But spend a day living your life within the limitations of those struggling with poverty, substandard housing, and lack of transpiration options and then get back with us.

Life under those pressures is no laughing matter and Self-Help Ventures, the City of Greensboro, and especially the residents of northeast Greensboro were right to celebrate with Pharrell’s inescapable track “Happy” on Tuesday morning after the speeches were done, the shovels turned, and the crowd sought relief from the oppressive heat.

Self-Help’s project managers announced that a health clinic, a pharmacy, and a financial institution will join the Renaissance Community Co-Op in occupying space at the shops. Specific deals and institution names could be made public by late summer.

A vibrant shopping center that serves the larger community will be a great example of infill development, taking an existing space, with existing infrastructure and returning it to productive use. It’s a symbolic move that, as District 2 council member Jamal Fox noted, proves that you should never give up on a community.

There is a long road ahead for the coop grocery store as they seek the final investment needed to meet the $1.8 million required to open and operate the store. The City of Greensboro has invested a great deal of time and public money into the project, whose backers have now turned to Guilford County for additional assistance.

It’s hard to see the conservative county board giving tax money to a for profit grocery store. But even if the county fails to act, we think other investors will be found.

The strength and drive of the co-op movement is undeniable. The people behind the project are the embodiment of the word ‘renaissance.’ !

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