According to the front page of The News-Record of Greensboro, a plan for an 11 acre site south of Elm and Lee streets will rejuvenate the blighted area of vacant lots and empty building. According to a Boston consulting firm, the area needs a grocery store and lots of apartments. According to a Washington consultant, the ideas presented last night are "market-tested ideas".
I did not attend the meeting last night because I have attended the other "so-called citizen in-put meetings" and found them unsatisfactory. The food was good, and the conversation was good, but the out of town consultants seemed intent on bringing their ideas and plans to Greensboro, whether Greensboro citizens wanted them or not. Many suggestions from local participants were ignored or just got lost somewhere in the planning process. I figured that this meeting to present "new plans" was really to present the "same old plan" that the consultants and developers had when they arrived in Greensboro. This meeting was an attempt to convince Greensboro citizens, leaders and followers that their plan is better than any we could do ourselves.
Several years ago another out-of-town firm suggested that the area be used for a new baseball stadium. This plan so alarmed the leaders at Action Greensboro that they had to do something to redirect the stadium away from the South Elm area. It wasn't in the right neighborhood to suit them. I believe that this same mindset about downtown neighborhoods is the reason that renovating Memorial Stadium was taken out of the mix when a better baseball venue was planned.
Let me say now, that I think a baseball stadium at Elm and Lee streets would have been a disaster and I campaigned against it when it was suggested. This current planning process was because the backers of a new stadium needed an acceptable excuse not to build the stadium in this blighted area. Their assertion that the area had oodles of ground pollution was a hoax, but it did start a process that, if done correctly, could make the area into a nice place.
More about South Elm Street Plan
What do you think?