Saturday, October 3, 2015

Was The East Market Street Development Corporation Designed To Fail? Part 2

Yesterday I wrote Was The East Market Street Development Corporation Designed To Fail? Today I want to continue looking deeper into the First Community Planning Team Report  as prepared by the American Planning Association on October 26, 1995 and try to figure out why, 20 years later, we are worse off than we were.

On July 23, 2013 I asked the question, "Did Greensboro Kill The Livable Communities Act?"

"In 2009 Senator Christopher Dodd introduced the Livable Communities Act. As part of the effort to push the bill through the United States Senate, BRUCE KNIGHT, Planning Director for the City of CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS and PRESIDENT, AMERICAN PLANNING ASSOCIATION spoke on behalf of the Livable Communities Act before the U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES on September 23, 2010.

Mr Knight cited the lack of "shovel ready" projects as being a major challenge to cities everywhere. He spoke of the importance of regional cooperation. He spoke of creating jobs, eliminating waste and promoting greater government efficiency while also allowing people to craft a vision for new development and growth based on local values. Mr Knight spoke of opportunities to build a more sustainable, livable future.

Mr Knight cited Greensboro, North Carolina, the very first project undertaken by the APA, the East Market Street Development Corporation, as an example of the success of the efforts of the American Planning Association.

The Livable Communities Act failed to pass the United States Senate. Did Greensboro reflect so poorly on the United States Senate that Washington found it impossible to believe Bruce Knight and the experts at the American Planning Association?"

But as we all know Greensboro was not "an example of the success of the efforts of the American Planning Association."

But did the APA know it wasn't a success? From the City of Greensboro website:

As you can see from the screen grab, if the City of Greensboro was feeding the American Planning Association the same bunch of bullshit they were feeding the citizens of Greensboro it's no wonder the APA and Senator Dodd were tricked into thinking the East Market Street Development Corporation had been a raving success.

You see, most of that money that was spent was state tax dollars that were spent on the campus of NC A&T State University and had not one damned thing to do with the revitalization of East Market Street and East Greensboro. Most of those projects remain unfinished because the Greensboro City Council never finished funding them. And has anyone drove past the 13 acre red mud empty lot where the post office used to sit? To the disdain of the Greensboro City Council it was reported at the Council Business Meeting I attended in February 2015:

"East Market Street Development Corporation seems fixated on developing the 13 acres where the post office used to stand on East Market St but as Councilwoman Yvonne Johnson pointed out and this writer has long known, the owners of the property, the United House of Prayer for All, have no intentions of selling the property-- ever.

You see, while Councilwoman Johnson didn't express it, the church bought that property with the long term goal of building a bigger church there someday. And apparently they ain't hurting for money. Personally I think it's a waste of property that could be put to better uses but the church owns it and the church will damn sure do with it what they please and who am I to say different?"

That's right, for years the City of Greensboro has been knowingly promising development the City cannot deliver and giving the EMSDC the impossible task of making it happen so that there is someone they can point a finger at.

So who was on the Greensboro City Council 20 years ago? Yvonne Johnson was. Have you ever heard her telling you what I'm telling you? I haven't. As a matter of fact, no one on the Greensboro City Council has ever talked about it at all.

Now let's go back to the original First Community Planning Team Report that was prepared by the American Planning Association on October 26, 1995 and see what else we can glean from there, shall we?

Here's how the APA Community Planning Team described what they saw when they first came to East Market Street:

A "dead mall." And 20 years later, while having a few trees and being slightly shinier East Market Street is deader than it was then-- wh

The City identified goals:

But as is too often the case in Greensboro the Mayors and Greensboro City Council never took the shots:

You see, by allowing the likes of Roy Carroll, Marty Kotis, Milton Kern, Robbie Perkins, John Lomax and the rest of Greensboro's elitist, status quo developers and realtors to set the agenda for local economic development our City Council establishes an agenda that pits one economic development agency against all the rest. And the East Market Street Development Corporation-- the economic development agency responsible for 68% of the population of the City of Greensboro but the agency least funded for the last 20 years, has never had a fighting chance.

Like I said, we never had a fighting chance:

Yes, the report mentioned some possible sources of funding but those other economic development agencies got there first. As a matter of fact: they had them all along.

And from the book, Once Upon A City written by Howard E Covington Jr, published by the Greensboro Historical Museum, Inc-- one of Greensboro's other money loosing non profit, city tax dollar funded museums.

This was attributed by the author, Howard Covington Jr. to former Greensboro Mayor Jim "Bobblehead" Melvin who is now, along with Mayor Nancy "Grasshopper" Vaughan  and the rest of the Greensboro City Council, advocating spending in excess of $20 Million dollars in Greensboro tax dollars plus over $200 Million in state tax dollars to build the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite in Randolph County to bring jobs to Randolph County while we here in East Greensboro in Guilford County remain the highest unemployeed in the state.

Amazingly, Jim "Bobblehead" Melvin is advocating doing the very same thing he points his crooked little finger at others for doing over 60 years ago.

Finally, so you'll understand how our Greensboro City Council and Greensboro's elites still think to this day I had to throw in this snippet also taken from Once Upon A City-- the offical history of Greensboro. Enjoy and remember: to this day they still try to kill the messenger when he brings bad news:

And folks, if you want to see Greensboro's main stream media start covering the issues I write about you're going to have to make our media do so. Why not, instead of sharing and liking my blog posts on Facebook, why don't all of you start e-mailing all my blog posts to Brian at so that he can forward them to Eric Ginsburg and get that lame ass, shit for brains reporter to actually do some journalism for a change.

Believe me, if enough of you start doing so our media will change their evil ways.