Responding To The Chronicle’s East End Commentary

“The most important thing about the East End is the people.” -Ayers Saint Gross, 8/21/2018

Earlier this week The Chronicle wrote an editorial that was aimed at this website without mentioning it by name. The Chronicle’s, Commentary: Our View: East End redevelopment was an attempt to convince The Chronicle’s readers that there is nothing to see, nothing going on in the “East End” that’s worthy of sharing on social media. But the photos I posted on Facebook (and the article I posted on the subject) tell a different story. And they attracted enough attention to merit a response from The Chronicle.

The “East End” Is Beginning To Empty

It’s important that the COMMUNITY in East Winston is not pushed out of the “East End.” Despite a lot of talk about shared prosperity and avoiding gentrification, we now have evidence that existing residents of the “East End” have been displaced without any public accountability. The Garden Court Apartments located between Third and Fourth Street and Woodland and Metropolitan have been completely emptied of their previous tenants. Other apartment buildings nearby have been almost completely emptied as well. Where is the accountability?

The Highway That Divides Winston

Updated 3/6/2019

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a 2011 master’s thesis online that is must reading for anyone in Winston that cares about fighting racism. Reynoldstown: Race, Blight, Disease, Highway Construction and the Transformation of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, by Shane Cruise is a revelation. Through exhaustive research into the city council’s records, the Winston-Salem Journal’s pages, as well as mining Robert Korstad’s work on Local 22, and conducting interviews, Shane Cruise has done a service to Winston-Salem. Reynoldstown: Race, Blight, Disease, Highway Construction and the Transformation of Winston-Salem, North Carolina highlights the role “blight” played in justifying Urban Renewal. Many white citizens favored Urban Renewal in the 1950s, not out of concern for the squalor that many African Americans were condemned to at that time, but because they feared diseases born in neighborhoods like The Pond and Monkey Bottom could spread to white neighborhoods such as Ardmore and Buena Vista.

East Greensboro Has Much To Teach East Winston Regarding Community Development

Last week, Renaissance Community Co-op announced that it would be closing its doors later this month. The announcement came as a shock to the residents of East Greensboro who assembled Monday night at Phillips Avenue for a community meeting. It took years of work for activists to make the Renaissance Community Co-op a reality. While the closing of Renaissance is a setback for East Greensboro, community members are hopeful that a new grocery store, possibly a new co-op will take Renaissance’s place soon. Despite the closing of the anchor tenant at the Renaissance Shops at Phillips Avenue, the transformation of a once-vacant shopping center in East Greensboro is an achievement in itself.

Nissen Wagon Works Building Redevelopment Never Got Of The Ground

The recent collapse of the Nissen Wagon Works building’s roof is anything but an act of nature. That building was left to rot and decay. Ironically, the Linville Team Partners for sale sign is visible in the rubble. Historic buildings are in short supply, it’s sad that what’s left of a once vast network of Nissen factory buildings wasn’t preserved. The loss of another historic structure in a majority-minority neighborhood rekindles memories of the suspicious Brown Elementary School fire that occurred just two years ago.

Collapse Of Nissen Wagon Works: A Lost Opportunity

Monday afternoon the historic Nissen Wagon Works building on Waughtown Street collapsed. The Winston-Salem Journal reported that the weight of this weekend’s snowfall was too much for the old building’s roof to support. We can only assume that the structure that has sat idle for many years will be condemned and bulldozed. Soon, only the historical marker outside of the Nissen Wagon Works will be left to tell the historical sites’ story. For decades Nissen produced many of the wagons that hauled tobacco into Winston. 

It’s a shame that that building wasn’t rehabilitated and re-purposed in the 2000s when so many historic buildings in Downtown Winston were brought back to life.

Zesto: Building Community Or Developing A Fast Food Franchise?

“I’m always glad when we can have public-private partnerships.” -D.D. Adams*

 

Back in May, a new Zesto restaurant opened at 2600 New Walkertown Road. The community excitement that I witnessed over Zesto’s opening made this blogger feel a little sheepish for harshly criticizing the project. So I shelved this article for a few months. Now, after Zesto has been open for a while, and the excitement has faded, it’s time to take a critical look at Zesto.

The Liberty Street Market Is An Unqualified Failure

Four years ago today, October 11, 2014, the Liberty Street Market opened with the typical fanfare. Mayor Joines, Mayor Pro Tempore Burke, Derwin Montgomery, and other officials spoke at the ribbon cutting. The plan was to build a vendor’s market in the middle of a food desert. First and foremost, the Liberty Street Market was supposed to bring fresh produce to an underserved community, to provide healthy options that the convenience stores across from the Liberty Street Market don’t offer. The Liberty Street Market, a new city-sponsored vendors market at 1591 N. Liberty St., will hold its grand opening Saturday, Oct.

Avoiding Eviction Shouldn’t Be A Game Of Chance

“I’m one step away from being the person on the street.”  -Cleveland Avenue Resident

Lots of folks enjoy games of chance, even though they know that the odds are stacked against them. Such games are a mainstay of the Dixie Classic Fair. Beating the odds, taking home a silly prize, that’s the game. And that’s great if you’re fifteen and want to impress your girlfriend to such an extent, that you’re willing to leave the fair with empty pockets. But, none of us would tolerate having a good or service that we desperately need being reduced to a game of chance.

The Power Of The People Was On Display At The August 20 Meeting Of The W-S City Council

The August 20th Winston-Salem City Council meeting was one to remember. It was the most democratic city council meeting that I have ever witnessed. It was a rare example of people in the council chamber pushing back against the mayor and city council. Typically the Winston-Salem City Council doesn’t give much time for citizens to voice their concerns. Public comments are given at the end of council meetings, just before adjournment.