Bull City Rising admires Greensboro's new downtown streetscapes:
Driving through Southside on Saturday morning, the streets and alleyways were full of couples and singletons out walking the dog or enjoying the early part of the day from their porches.It's not the water; it is city government in Greensboro.
But the renewal doesn't end at the few city blocks of Southside; it extends down Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway all the way to I-40, with a massive streetscape project having added sidewalks, attractive lighting and what appears to be landscaping along the boulevard... transforming, in the process, what clearly was once a run-down street into a much attractive drive, and from the looks of it helping to draw in renewal and revitalization to some of the houses....
Heading over to N.C. A&T from downtown, I was impressed to see still more streetscape beautification, with landscaped medians, attractive signage, and good lighting. Sure enough, upon approaching the college, attractive, modernized campus-oriented retail appeared along Market right next to the campus....
[H]ow has Greensboro pulled off its redevelopment so well while Durham is just starting? Its tax levels are about the same (though as a larger city, it does have a larger base from which to draw.) Is its local government simply more capable at executing on change, on operating functionally?
Whatever the explanation, there is something in the water in the Triad, and it ain't lead.
The projects that BCR mentions (Southside, East Market St. Corridor) emanated from Greensboro's Housing and Community Development department, whose talented planners -- Andy Scott, Sue Schwartz, Dan Curry, and others -- not only had the imagination to envision these projects, they had the skills to get other city departments (planning, transportation), city political leaders, and voters on board.
And there's more to come from this crew on South Elm Street. Greensboro is very lucky to have these people working for us.