Pay It Forward
We think the City of Greensboro missed the mark with the recent announcement of the winner of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge this week.
The process itself was rife with controversy, having undergone rule changes midstream and mild conflicts of interest among judges in earlier phases of the contest. City staff running the contest on behalf of the federal government pulled together to bring the SC2 challenge to a smooth landing, when it was announced that a group of local university interests had won first prize and $500,000 in seed money.
But the fact that such a large amount of money will go to institutional resources is symptomatic of what ails Greensboro.
We’ve written about the two Greensboros in the past, most often in terms of the haves and have-nots among us, and the policy decisions made that often benefit the haves. In this instance, the example is institutional Greensboro versus grassroots Greensboro.
The two are often at odds, fighting for space, attention, and valuable resources that are hard to come by. Institutional Greensboro often expects six and seven figure grants of public money upon request for the newest project on the horizon. Grassroots Greensboro struggles to scratch in the game, and more than once has been raked over the coals for asking for seed money for small projects that have a high potential for return on investment.
We’ll not call into question the judges’ motives, but the obvious consideration is to ask if a group of public universities really needed $500,000 in money that could have gone to teams of private individuals with concepts that could benefit a cross-section of the community.
Both the GigG and Cityfi proposals were homegrown ideas being pursued by teams of individuals with a vision for a better community. We urge city leaders to continue moving those pro- grams toward reality. !
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