That's an argument I've heard several times when pitching my idea for an East Greensboro Performing Arts Center on Phillips Ave. Is it true? Are Greensboro's well-to-do so classist and possibly racist, they would not attend shows at a performing arts center located anywhere other than Matt Brown's fiefdom, the Greensboro Coliseum Complex or the Mayor's anointed downtown location?
I would like to say that Greensboro's richest families are long past such behaviors but honestly, I cannot speak for what is in the hearts and minds of others. But if Greensboro's better-off population is so snobbish, classist and racist as to refuse to patronize an East Greensboro Performing Arts Center then none of Greensboro deserves to have a performing arts center no matter where they ultimately decide to locate it.
East Greensboro is the stock from which Greensboro's finest neighborhoods and downtown were built. East Greensboro was home to the thousands of Cone Mills employes who labored for lifetimes and died poor while the City enjoyed its brightest moments. East Greensboro was the home to those who labored as construction workers to build the rest of the city. The rock quarry from which the stone was mined to build the mills, Fisher Park, Irving Park, College Hill and other historic neighborhoods, was located one block from the location I've chosen on yet another abandoned, City owned location. Several East Greensboro children died in the murky waters of that abandoned quarry before the City stopped dragging its feet and filled the quarry. The White Street Landfill and the previous landfill where Greensboro's garbage was dumped for 50 plus years lies 1/4 mile north of the abandoned Bessemer Shopping Center.
In the 1960s, downtown Greensboro proponents deliberately destroyed the thriving mixed-race East Greensboro commercial area along East Market Street to improve business downtown. They bulldozed an entire mixed-race commercial area so that shoppers couldn't shop there.
And lest we forget the ever expanding, City owned and operated housing projects forced on this same neighborhood by the nice folks across town who didn't want poor people living in their neighborhoods.
East Greensboro is what it is because Greensboro's developers, realtors and slum lords made it that way. Greensboro has a responsibility to East Greensboro that is long overdue to be fulfilled. An East Greensboro Performing Arts Center would be a step in the right direction.
All in all, the City of Greensboro owns almost 2000 acres of property in East Greensboro. It's time some of those properties were returned to use and returned to the list of taxable properties so that they are no longer a burden to taxpayers as a whole.
Continue to article #7 Let's Learn About The Area