by Jordan Green

Perkins champions investment in eastern sewer basins

Count Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins as an enthusiastic proponent of an initiative to develop sewer basins in eastern Guilford County to support future economic development.

“This is one of the most significant projects I have had the opportunity to work on since I started on council in 1993,” he said in a Dec. 22 e-mail.

Interim City Manager Denise Turner Roth wrote in an e-mail to council members on the same day: “The goal is to increase the capacity of the Rock Creek, Stewart Mill and Young’s Mill sewer basins by upgrading the pump stations and sewer mains. Staff projections are that once American Express comes online next year, sewer capacity in the area could be at capacity within 1-2 years of operations depending on any additional development in the basins.”

Roth said the project would establish capacity through 2050 and “address long-term sewer capacity in the southeastern portion” of Greensboro’s water service area.

“Our county has a billion-dollar road system in place with inadequate public utilities to accommodate future growth,” Perkins wrote. “Our staff has devised a plan that will leverage the transportation system to maximize our chances for attracting jobs and tax base. The city council and county commission can create the platform for job growth and significantly increased tax base by strategically investing in these sewer basins. I am hopeful that we can start 2012 with a cooperative alliance with Guilford County that will strengthen us all.” — JG

Occupy Winston-Salem member arrested

Winston-Salem police arrested William Bryant Bridge on Dec. 20 during a protest by Occupy Winston-Salem on the lawn outside City Hall. Winston-Salem police approached approximately 15 members of Occupy Winston-Salem around 8 a.m. on Dec. 20 and told them their gathering was not an open-air public meeting as required by city ordinance, and ordered the group to vacate the premises. According to police reports, Occupy Winston-Salem members began leaving City Hall grounds but one member of the group “became irate and began to repeatedly scream profanities, in the presence of other citizens, which resulted in a public disturbance.” Bridge, 20, was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct and resist and delay of a public officer. Bridge was transported to the Forsyth County Jail and placed under $2,000 secured bond. The incident came on the heels of the Dec. 19 meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council in which the council considered changing city ordinance to exclude City Hall grounds from being considered a public place or “public property” where open-air meetings are permitted.

Southeast Ward Councilman Dan Besse put forth the proposal to change city ordinance regarding open-air meetings but the council was divided over the restrictions. The council is scheduled to vote on Besse’s proposal, which would expire on March 27, 2012, during its Jan. 3 meeting, said West Ward Councilman Robert Clark. Earlier this month, talks broke down between city officials and members of Occupy Winston-Salem as the group sought permission to establish an encampment in the downtown area. — KTB

Greensboro to receive free neighborhood design advice

Greensboro is among eight American cities that will receive free neighborhood design consultation from Global Green USA. Other cities that were selected from a pool of applicants to receive the free consultations include Philadelphia; Oakland, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; Lafayette, Ind.; Dearborn, Mich.; Eden Prairie, Minn. and Lakewood, Colo. A sustainability expert with the outfit will conduct a three-day visit to Greensboro and make comprehensive recommendations for policy changes to make the city “more resource-efficient, livable, healthy and environmentally responsible,” according to a press release. Criteria for selection included need for assistance, urgency, substantial upcoming projects and community engagement. — JG