The Heart and Soul of Greensboro
The Greensboro city council has approved the beginning of a process to put a $30M bond referendum on the November ballot for the construction of a downtown performing art center, after a presentation from the task force assigned to conduct citizen awareness activities. Trudy Wade and Marikay Abuzuaiter voted against beginning the process as being premature and Zack Matheny indicated he has grave concerns as to whether the bond referendum should occur.
Mayor Robbie Perkins gave an impassioned speech in support of the effort just prior to the vote. He began by saying downtown was the heart and soul of Greensboro. I take issue with that contention. I could easily spend the rest of my life in this city and never again visit downtown. There is not a restaurant, bar or retail establishment downtown which I consider essential to my quality of life.
Additionally, Perkins and his developer friends have built shopping centers all over this city as far as ten miles from downtown. Many of them have stood partially empty since the day they were built. Worse, shopping centers such as The Village at North Elm have been directly responsible for the demise of other established neighborhood shopping centers such as Golden Gate.
Greensboro’s developers cannot worship sprawl for generations and then suddenly pretend a new commitment to urban living. For Perkins to suggest such a thing is political hypocrisy.
The reality is Greensboro’s wine and cheese crowd are and have been a bunch of rank amateurs. It is their fault we are in no position to compete with the other major cities in our region. This is an ambition held only by members of Starmount, Sedgefield, Grandover and Greensboro Country Club. The rest of us could care less how we compare to Durham, Raleigh or Charlotte.
The citizens who must bear the cost of these bonds have sent an unmistakable message by their failure to participate in this predetermined outcome driven process that they will not approve bonds and will oust any council which spends public funds otherwise for this ludicrous notion. Spend the money to maintain and improve the Coliseum if you will, but a compelling case has not been made for the establishment of a downtown performing arts center.
Greensboro citizens who desire to see a Broadway show are welcome to avail themselves of other nearby venues or fly to NYC. It appears most of our council members are quite aware of voter sentiment on this issue. If Perkins wishes to stake his political career tilting at this windmill, so be it. We will retire him at the next opportunity for those who seek elective office by listening to their constituents who truly are the heart and soul of this city.