What is it with Greensboro that takes something so simple and turns it into a cluster of conflict, or a territorial shouting match?
Take the recent demise of the DGI initiative to sprinkle downtown Greensboro with pedestrian friendly seating areas known as parklets. The micro-projects are wildly popular in San Francisco, and an emerging parklet program is becoming reality in Raleigh.
Is there something so different about Greensboro that it can’t pull off a simple downtown enhancement that’s proven successful in other major cities?
We think so. That certain something is a narrow minded, territorial bravado that pervades Downtown Greensboro and prevents what could be a more vibrant center city from emerging.
It resonates from the top floors of Center Pointe condominiums, where wellheeled uppity types look down on those on the streets enjoying the richness of urban entertainment. It leads residents of Center Pointe to call 911 for something as mundane as a bit of noise from kids and parents leaving a mid-week all-ages show just minutes after the noise ordinance kicks in at 11 p.m.
It infects the Downtown Greensboro Inc. board, which has for two years been at a stand still, existing in a vacuum of leadership, blindly following the naysayers who may just be too clannish to allow an organic culture to emerge.
Last week we called for DGI to be defunded. We reiterate that call today.
There is no purpose in an organization that cannot execute even the simplest of downtown enhancements without relying on city staff for guidance and permission.
The money spent on DGI salaries, especially the president, that comes from Business Improvement District tax dollars, would be much better spent via a small grants program administered by existing city staff.
The city’s small business support staff, or a senior level administrator in the city manager’s office, could streamline the process and make positive, visible change a reality in Downtown Greensboro. !
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