by Keith Barber

Corporations put up $1 million for greenway

Greensboro civic leaders announced a $2.5 million capital campaign today to assemble private funding to continue construction of the Downtown Greenway, with three large corporate donations propelling the project towards its goal. Chuck Cornelio, president of Lincoln Financial’s retirement plan services, announced that his company will donate $500,000, while Lorillard Tobacco Co. and VF Corp. each pledged $250,000.

“It’s all really about economic development,” Cornelio said. “Greenways around the country have been successful in creating a $5 to $10 return on investment for every dollar spent. Our first obligation is to our shareholders, but corporations are creatures of the places they live in. I think it’s very important for corporations that employ a lot of people to give back to their communities.”

The total cost of the four-mile loop around downtown is estimated at $26 million. The $2.5 million capital campaign is part of an effort to raise a total of $8.5 million in private funds. A number of local foundations have already raised $5.9 million.

Susan Schwartz, co-chair of the Downtown Greenway Campaign Committee, cited an apartment building project at the old North State Chevrolet site and the planned relocation of Deep Roots Market, each of which will be built adjacent to the greenway, as key developments.

“Before you know it, we’re going to have that northern Phase III completed,” she said.

Greensboro voters approved a $7.5 million bond for the greenway in 2008, and Mayor Robbie Perkins said the city will be releasing $2.1 million in funding in coming months, coupled with a $2.8 million federal grant. The city is reimbursing Lomax Construction to the tune of $217,812 to relocate a storm sewer line for the apartment buildings, and Perkins indicated that the city might need to support the Deep Roots project as well.

“It will get done,” he said of the greenway. — JG

Folwell won’t seek re-election Dale Folwell

(R-Forsyth) announced last week that he will not seek a fifth term representing District 74 in the NC House. Folwell said at the moment he has no plans to run for another office.

“I know that I’ve enjoyed my time here, and having to make two decisions at the same time is almost impossible,” Folwell said. “I represent the people of my district — they’re the employers. Once I knew I was not going to run for reelection I felt I needed to let them know that as soon as possible.”

Due to statewide redistricting, Folwell and Rep. Larry Brown (R-Forsyth) were “doublebunked,” as Brown was drawn out of the District 73. After Folwell’s announcement, Brown came forth to state that he would run for Folwell’s seat. Debra Conrad, vice-chair of the Forsyth County Commission, announced last week she would challenge Brown for the Republican nomination. Folwell, the speaker pro tem of the House, touted that during his four terms in office, he sponsored 28 bills that were signed into law. He said the bills he’s introduced in the General Assembly have received 4,098 yes votes and only 171 no votes, and not a single veto.

“With every bill I introduce, I try to make it common-sense and something every member would be proud to vote for,” Folwell said. “I’ve always been a person who believed that good policy drives good politics. I’ve also focused on understanding that we all disagree on the level of government we have, but we all agree our government should work well. You only get that by listening, doing and getting results.” — KTB