Anyone who’s lived in Greensboro for a while knows the only thing standing in the way of connecting the Downtown Greenway with the Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway is Chandler Concrete. Mind you Chandler is more than happy to move and thus open up the last section of A&Y rail line, but —you guessed it — the city turned down its rezoning request:
Chandler Concrete has demonstrated that it is willing to move by going out and finding a suitable site and trying to get it rezoned. Why aren’t the economic development gurus that are well paid by the City of Greensboro out finding another location so that the rail line can be closed and the trail built into the downtown? The city was willing to spend half a million dollars to build a tunnel under Cone Boulevard for a trail that currently goes nowhere, but it isn’t making any apparent effort to open that trail into the downtown.
The City Council has had six years to get something done, but it’s done nothing while it has been running around chasing rainbows. This new City Council could change that and concentrate some effort on an achievable goal.
More than a few industrial operations in that part of town –for example Starr Electric is right around the corner —who would be more than happy to make way for Gboro’s hipster vision, but good luck getting property rezoned. And don’t even bother going near the airport –that’s exclusively for the aerotropolis.
Fair enough the rezoning was turned down due to neighborhood opposition. I just hate to think there’s other suitable property for Chandler Concrete that doesn’t adversely affect citizens, but city rules and regulations make such a move unfeasible.
What does the headline reporting former Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston’s announcement that he’s running for the NC Senate have to do with Greensboro firefighters battling an inferno?
Nothing, or everything?
Ignite High Point’s eagerly awaited master plan has been released. New urbanist planner Andres Duany wants HP to become, well, new urbanist. For that to happen, you have to draw the entrepreneurial spirit of the younger generation. Unfortunately, something stands in the way:
The onerous process of bureaucratic approval cannot be amortized by the small developer with the meager value of what the down – town is originally worth, so today everything is done by bigger developers.
For this we propose a “Pink Code” to lighten the red tape. A code should be part
of the solution.
It is a code that knows what the city wants to be, so that it thereby becomes thin. A fat, unwieldy code, that is a code that hedges the bets. It is for a leadership and a profession that is scared to decide.
(But it makes the consultants happy because they can only be interpreted by lawyers or architects.)
Yes!Weekly says HP should give the hipsters a chance, but doesn’t mention the Pink Code.
I have no doubt there is a younger generation out there with an intolerance for red tape. But for the most part seems to me the majority of them are all too willing to be spoon-fed the Obama’s administration’s ‘government is good’ baby food –Obama can’t believe he’s still got at least one easy audience out there.
The High Point City Council voted 7-2 to move forward with High Point University’s request to close part of busy Montlieu Avenue in order to secure land for the expansion of its new health sciences and pharmacy school:
HPU President Nido Qubein has hinted that the university might develop the school, which could involve an investment up to $100 million, in a neighboring city such as Greensboro if HPU can’t secure land in High Point. HPU Chief of Staff Chris Dudley attended the council meeting Monday during the discussion about Montlieu but didn’t address the mayor and councilmembers during the meeting.
The City Council would hold a public hearing on the closure of the section of Montlieu before the end of February, said Councilwoman Becky Smothers. During the public hearing process, HPU will present details on the campus improvements that would take place as part of the Montlieu street closure bordering the university, Smothers said.
Now that I think about it, Nido Qubein was conspicuously absent from the unveiling of Greensboro’s Downtown University Campus. Gboro has been talking about a downtown pharmacy school for years now, HPU setting up shop would be a great display of the regionalism everybody’s always talking about.
But why would HPU leave home base when —as one commenter put it —you’re the lone shining star in a tired town that will do anything to keep you?
Tablet manaufacturer tells Guilford County Schools not our chargers.
“Based on the testing completed on the tablets and chargers, Asus does not have any safety concern regarding these products, and we stand by the quality of our products,” according to a statement from Asus to Amplify, the tablet vendor.
In the letter, Asus acknowledges receiving complaints of the chargers being hot to touch, but said that the evaluation found “no indication of product defect” and that the chargers functioned within national safety standards.
That response “doesn’t actually reflect the experience that we’ve had here in Guilford County,” said Nora Carr, the school systems’s chief of staff.
But as the N&R reported a couple of weeks ago, GCS’ tablet debacle goes beyond melting chargers:
In mid-August, the district employees training teachers to use the tablets complained about the software and about persistent glitches with the devices’ basic functions.
“The oddity is that all tablets we try to register fail, even though they come out of different boxes,” one wrote. “It’s not intermittent, it’s 100 percent failure.”
….In mid-September, another trainer warned that teachers were upset about losing access to websites such as learnzillion.com, which include instructional aids.
“This is hurting the morale,” the trainer wrote. “I believe teachers are getting okay with the Wi-Fi issues, but the websites had people in some different moods today.”
Let’s see—bureaucrats eager to spend taxpayers’ money with their cool technology and when the deal lays an egg they say oh well we knew there would be glitches. I’ve heard that somewhere before.
..Once improvements on Business I-40 begin. Question for transportation planners was whether to leave one lane open and have the repairs stretch over six years or shut it down completely and get it done —in theory —in two years.
The Journal article didn’t specifically say how the improvement would address the infamous Hawthorne Curve, although widening and removing an interchange would certainly help.
Davidson County Commissioners are considering millions in federal loans to get its own industrial park off the ground:
One of the loans the county is considering is a Community Development Block Grant that could be for an amount up to $7 million, at 2 percent interest. The other is a Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant for up to $2 million that would carry no interest.
Only one commissioner, Billy Joe Kepley, dissented from the vote to proceed with the loan process, saying he couldn’t support the park until school overcrowding in northern Davidson is fixed.
Back in Guilford County, the N&R praises the ‘political peace’ among the current group of county commissioners. Fair enough, two of the three commissioners cited for previous dysfunction were Democrats. But given that only two of the current group –Hank Henning and Alan Branson —(one more dissenting vote than in Davidson) voted against spending $30k for the feasibility study of the proposed data center park at the prison —one might think that political peace isn’t always the best thing. It is politics, after all.
N&R front-pager on the history of Project Haystack, the effort to transform the Guilford County prison farm into taxpayer-funded data center park.
Interesting the N&R —surely someone down there remembers— (the Rhino’s John Hammer sure did) — didn’t mention that consultant Mike Solomon was also a front on the effort to bring Major League Baseball (the Twins supposedly would bail out of Minneapolis) to Greensboro, an effort that “went down in flames when the tax to pay for the stadium went before voters,” a factoid that might call into question the N&R’s description of Solomon as a “hard-nosed realist.”
One of the numbers – $88.1 million for infrastructure, jumped out – but there was also a total estimated cost of about $103 million when the $15 million land acquisition costs were figured in.
Donadio was the one who broke the news to the board that they would need to give the land away and pay all the money on top of that.
The commissioners, who were hearing the idea for the first time, literally had to fight back laughter, and most of them lost that fight and just started laughing out loud.
And still seven commissioners voted for the $30,000 feasibility study, including Jeff Phillips, who as Hammer also notes, “sold himself to voters as a Tea Party Republican.”
The Winston-Salem City Council unanimously approved a business improvement district (BID) tax on property owners in the core of downtown.
The council did not approve a a tax rate, but proponents suggest 9 cents out of every $100 of taxable property. The tax will be administered by the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership.
Greensboro has had a downtown BID tax in place for years, but earlier this year there were questions regarding Downtown Greensboro Inc.’s effectiveness.
N&O front pager on Raleigh Housing Authority’s phat Christmas party:
The Raleigh Housing Authority holds an annual Christmas dinner for board members, their spouses and nine agency department heads at Second Empire Restaurant on Hillsborough Street, which carries a four-diamond rating from AAA.
…Last year, the public housing leaders had a four-course meal with a variety of wines, beer and bourbon. The bill came to $77 per person for food – 25 people attended – and the alcohol cost a total of $254. The agency, which gets three-quarters of its budget from federal housing dollars, footed the entire bill, which came to $3,082 including tax and tip.
…The housing authority’s executive director, Steve Beam, says no federal funds are used to pay for the dinners. “I don’t think it is unreasonable at the conclusion of a successful year at RHA to offer a single token of thanks which wouldn’t even replace the board’s personal expenses, much less compensate them for the time they invest,” Beam wrote in an email.
…Despite the criticism, Beam said this year’s Christmas dinner is still on. He says the invitations to Second Empire will be going out soon.
Doesn’t say exactly who bankrolls the party if it’s not federal funds, but it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to assume it’s Capitol Area Development, the housing authority’s nonprofit that holds its board meetings at Second Empire.
Regarding “public servants” making really big money, during and after their careers, taxpayers struggling with their own finances might be forgiven if they feel exploited.
Especially when the people who care so much —so much more than the average taxpayer— are partying on.