By this time next week it’s quite possible that Greensboro City Council member Zack Matheny will have been named the new president and CEO of Downtown Greensboro Inc.
We’ll reserve judgment on Matheny’s ability to do the job. After all, he’s represented large swaths of Downtown Greensboro for many years as the District 3 representative on the council. He’s shown a passion for downtown, though at times he’s been a bit too ready to overreact when problems arise or a vocal minority expresses discontent with a new trend.
The swirl surrounding DGI in recent months has been nothing short of soap opera drama. Can Matheny put an end to that trend? We hope so, but remain unconvinced.
Soon Greensboro’s power brokers are going to need to realize that you can never have a sanitized downtown. Roy Carroll can buy every last hi-end apartment complex in Downtown Greensboro but that’s not going to stop the underground and street culture that occurs in any urban environment.
Matheny could finely tailor a club security ordinance that exempts his political backers, but that still isn’t going to prevent violence and crime downtown.
We think the DGI model is broken and placing the downtown crown on another head isn’t really the solution.
Greensboro has a strong small business support office. City staff is stuffed to the gills with talented and visionary urban planners and transportation designers. There is no shortage of artists and visionaries working to craft new businesses and creative spaces in downtown.
The entrepreneurial spirit is groomed daily in spaces like Collab, and with support from the Greensboro Partnership Entrepreneur Connection.
What’s not needed is a board of hangers on who meet monthly to talk and muddy the waters.
If Matheny gets the job we will wish him well. But we’ll have little patience for a continuation of DGI’s recent path. There is too much at stake in Downtown Greensboro to allow that chaos to continue. !
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