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Items from across the Triad and beyond

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PGI OFFERS TO SAVE HISTORIC SALOON

With a fate that has been hanging in the balance for years, the historic Cascade Saloon on Elm Street may be saved through an offer made to the City of Greensboro by Preservation Greensboro Inc.

Cascade Saloon is one of the oldest structures in downtown Greensboro, and in desperate need of stabilization.

The building is currently owned by the City of Greensboro, and on July 10 members of City Council reviewed their options on what to do with the structure.

Assistant City Manager David Parrish presented the best bids received by the City to preserve or demolish the structure. The best demolition bid came back with an estimated cost of $600,000. This shocked some members of Council.

“How can the Greensboro Inn be torn down for $35,000 and this one would be so much more expensive?” said councilman Tony Wilkins.

Cascade’s Saloon proximity to the railroad tracks would complicate demolition. Permits would be needed to ensure that crews would not disrupt the railway traffic, which according to Mayor Nancy Vaughan, sees 65 trains pass through downtown every day.

A recent bid from PGI offered to take the property from the City in order to secure and preserve the building. PGI asks that the City pay them $170,000 to help subsidize the cost of stabilizing the structure.

“This is much better than the initial plan,” said councilman Zack Matheny. “The city can save money. Financially for the City this is a lot better deal than we had anticipated.”

Other members of council were skeptical. “What if people can’t get to the Cantina and other businesses nearby while construction is going on?” said council member Sharon Hightower.

Other council members argued that the risk of disrupting local businesses was a lesser concern compared to the benefit of preserving a historic building for $430,000 less than the cost of demolishing it.

“We have to make the best decision for the city,” said council member Nancy Hoffman. “Not just one person.”

Matheny added that the City of Greensboro was not a good landlord, and that it would be better for the building to be owned by PGI anyway.

Council decided that they needed more information from PGI about the intended future of Cascade Saloon before they could make a decision about the bid.

“Because we don’t know the end use, we can’t make that decision right now,” said Mayor Vaughan.

HIGH POINT CITIZENS EAT AND DISCUSS

Concerned citizens gathered for a dinner Monday night in a sunken parking area known as the pit, at 100 West High Avenue in High Point. The event was sponsored by the grassroots organization “We Heart High Point,” which has been pushing for downtown revitalization, and recently conducted a traffic study of Main Street to determine whether it is suitable for street dieting.

The crowd featured a diverse age group and was mostly social and did not include any formal discussion, but Visions Catering co-owner Karen Willette addressed the crowd as the evening was wrapping up.

“I looked and I said, there’s no life here,” she said.

“There’s no life anywhere in High Point. I can drive up and down the street after 5:00 and all I see is just a residual of people trying to get through the city but to me it just did not give me anything. There’s nothing to inspire me to want to be here.”

Willette mentioned how she felt High Point was falling behind compared to the other cities in the Triad.

“Do we want the people who live here to have to go all the way to Greensboro to do something,” she said. “We need to support our city council, but we also need to stand up to them and support our own voice because if they’re not going to listen to us then people are just going to leave this community.”

Cody Fielden is a dentist who moved to High Point eight years ago from San Diego. He said overall he has enjoyed living there but thinks the downtown area needs more retail establishments.

“I think all it would take for High Point to get over that tipping point is just for a handful of businesses to take a chance on downtown, but then also for city and the city council to back those people,” he said. “Give them incentives, give them reasons to come here. You know, if you build it they’ll come.” !

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