Third Time Around for DGI
Third Time Around
After two failed presidencies of Downtown Greensboro Inc. in recent years, here’s hoping new President Zack Matheny has what it takes to make the organization functional again.
We don’t doubt Matheny’s passion for Greensboro’s downtown. In his years on the council, Matheny showed a concern for the economic and cultural vibrancy of Downtown Greensboro.
Matheny, like most in Greensboro, wants a healthy downtown economy. But bringing all the communities of interest in Downtown Greensboro together may be beyond anyone’s ability.
We still doubt the relevance of DGI to facilitate projects downtown. It seems redundant for the city to have a staff dedicated to small business development, planning, and project management and for the city to give money to DGI for the same purposes.
Another example of the dilution of energy is evident in a lingering streetscape plan DGI has pursued. At first talk was of paying six figures to have a consultant develop a streetscape plan for South Elm Street. The problem was that DGI only had about half the money needed. The city wasn’t interested in funding the other half, and with DGI’s leadership in abeyance for the first half of 2015, the project lingered.
Recently, a plan has been hatched that would have a consultant in Greensboro execute a plan with ArtsGreensboro on behalf of the City of Greensboro with funds provided by DGI to reactivate an alley running parallel to the 300 block of South Elm Street.
Confused yet? You’re not alone. Some of the property owners see it as a done deal, while others insists they haven’t agreed to anything. Each will be expected to pony up about $5,000 to bury utilities. The project calls for about $75,000 in DGI funds to pay for paving and lighting.
But the naysayers are out already, and navigating these differences of opinions will be Matheny’s biggest challenge. !
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