"On Wednesday, as city leaders celebrated the renovation of Revolution Mill — a former Cone Mills textile factory that now houses shops, offices, restaurants and apartments — another Greensboro textile mill was closing its doors.
White Oak was the last Cone textile mill operating in Greensboro, the last to make iconic American denim in the town where it began, the last still serving its original purpose.Although the timing was purely a coincidence, it served to underscore how important historic preservation and new-market tax credits are in promoting economic development in towns where traditional businesses and industries have withered away.There are few sights as disheartening as shuttered factories that once provided a livelihood for hundreds of workers. But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.Textile manufacturing has moved overseas, but the massive brick structures left behind can become another kind of economic engine — one that attracts entrepreneurs and millenials who want to live, work and play in the same space.
Revolution Mill shows how successful that kind of place can be."
But Susan Ladd, like all the others who prey to the gods of Greensboro's economic development gurus miss one very key point: At it's height, Revolution Mill employed 6,000 workers a day. The most today's version of Revolution Mill will ever employ will be a few hundred.
A few hundred vs 6000? When you put it all into context it doesn't appear all that successful, does it. Seems like it's all just hype.
The same is true for Print Works, the newly closed White Oak, and all the other big textile mills that left us.
So why aren't we talking about using those same historic tax credits combined with whatever programs are available to build new, homegrown industries to Greensboro? Don't give me that crap about the excessive cost of retrofitting old textile mills to other industries, retrofitting old textile mills into offices, apartments, shops, and stores face those same issues. That's what the historic tax credits are in place for.
It's not being done because developers want to turn these old properties into sources of rental income-- money that never stops flowing in. And always at the taxpayers' expense.
These old buildings could more easily be converted to food processing facilities to support a new Urban Farming, Hydroponics, and Aquaponics industry that could be built here in Greensboro that would allow for hundreds, if not thousands of existing residents to start their own businesses both full time and part time.
And thus solving our problems with poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, taxes, crime... Well, you know.
Or perhaps you know of other cutting edge industries that could fill these old mills?
Read my platform, Write-in Billy Jones for Mayor of Greensboro, write in Thessa Pickett for District 2, get rid of the incumbents, and see what a difference we can make.