Same ol’, same ol’

Cone’s just a little miffed about the “velvet rope” separating us regular folks from some major downtown planning and scheming. I’m kinda used to it.

One would think that any planning and scheming involving “downtown” would necessarily include those who actually live there. To my knowledge, however, none of the “downtown” neighborhoods were invited to give input on either of the two plans that have surfaced in the past week.

That is not to say that either of the plans are bad for Greensboro (well… except for this).  Only time will tell if they ultimately pass muster, receive funding, and come to fruition. But why devise and create such major initiatives in formerly smoke filled rooms by Greensboro’s “great white fathers“* to the exclusion of common folk who live and work here? Unless, of course, you don’t believe those of us outside of the “powers that be” loop should have a stake and a voice in the future of where they live.

The Rhino posted a copy of the City commissioned report last week defining a new Cultural District that hit the N&R’s front page today. John Hammer points out… “One question the study does answer is why the city was so determined to tear down the historic Ice House on East Market Street beside the railroad tracks.”

When I was trying to find some options to tearing that structure down two years ago, I met on the site with City Manager Mitch Johnson and Inspections head Butch Simmons. I said to Mitch something like, “...If there are plans for this area in the works that I’m not privy to, I’ll shut up and stand down.” Nothing was forthcoming, so I continued on until I lost the fight.

I would have rather not been made to look like a windmill tilter if it could’ve been avoided.

* “Great white fathers” was the late City Councilwoman Claudette Burroughs-White’s term for Greensboro’s elite movers and shakers.

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  1. Justin Smith
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    they talk of a cultural anchor: “We propose that the City undertake a study to identify potential interest from the private sector to build and operate a cultural amenity on the site, potentially including an art gallery,science/technology museum, performing arts, film or IMAX, among others.”

    I wonder if a FMarket would be ‘among others’?

    Makes me a nit nervous to not have heard anything from DGI.

    So . . . what do we do?

  2. Tommy
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should re- think the placement of War Memorial Auditorium so as to include it as an anchor of the cultural district. This would be much closer to amenities that dovetail with such a structure. It would also supply balanced growth for the downtown,”central business district” and be a fantastic drawing card for the area. Just imagine what one hundred and forty events would do to fuel economic growth and stability for downtown Greensboro.

  3. mick
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 10:17 am | Permalink


    I dont think moving WMA is a feasible option on many different levels. Carolina Theater ring a bell? How about the name… Matt Brown? $100 Million to rebuild? I just dont see it happening.

    Besides, quit stealing other peoples stuff. And, the world is bigger than 6 square blocks you know. I think you guys can handle the drive all the way out the the CVM complex (2 miles?) or to the Farmers Market (6 blocks?).

  4. Posted August 26, 2008 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    new name is TREBIC CARTEL

  5. Tommy
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Don’t get your panties in a wad. I was just floating an idea.

    The Carolina is a beautiful facility, unfortunately too small for the events the auditorium currently houses and no chance for expanding for future needs. I am in agreement that Matt would not want to lose the only moneymaking venue he oversees, however I am not sure of the importance of a profit producing public facility. (Hope you enjoyed the alliteration) As far as the money for building is concerned, there might be trade-offs, other uses for the present footprint that would be more homogeneous with the other facilities, existing and planned for Greater Coliseum Complex.

    No one is suggesting any kind of theft. I am fairly certain in any location the auditorium would still belong to the city. I am not aware of any neighborhoods that claim close association with it or businesses that have a direct relationship with its’ events.

    Again,I agree with your six square blocks assessment. My vision is that one day downtown “the center city” will include a much larger area containing 5 colleges and universities, 2 baseball stadiums, a farmers’ market, a center city park, a regional transportation center, arts and cultural districts, entertainment districts, a wide variety of shopping choices and residential diversity.

    Lastly, my drive to the Coliseum is a two block walk, to downtown 2.3 miles and to the FM six blocks further. Neither allegiances or distances are factors in my suggestion, simply synergies and aggregate economies.

  6. mick
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    It is to the point that my panties wad at the mere mention of downtown. Other uses for the existing footprint doesnt change the gazillions it would cost to build a new WMA. Traffic and parking are issues I would think too.

    Here’s a thought. Maybe just maybe not everyone wants everything downtown no matter how big the area is considered to be. But I do like your vision.