Broken Circle: A Few More Thoughts On Piedmont Circle And Brookside

The amount of money that is going to be invested in and around Cleveland Avenue is astounding. In a sense, it’s like Cleveland Avenue, and adjacent neighborhoods won the lottery. On the other hand, the infusion of tens of millions of public and private dollars will lead to the displacement of longtime residents if the community is not involved in its “transformation.” I worry about residents who have suffered for years in poorly maintained public housing units won’t be allowed to live in the new homes on Cleveland Avenue. On the other side of 25th Street, Piedmont Circle is in the shadows.

A Vacant Storefront On North Liberty Tells A Story

For the last couple of weeks, I have been taking photos of the Liberty Street Corridor, while practicing social distancing. Only a five-minute drive from downtown, it’s a world away. While downtown Winston has received over $1 billion in public and private investments over the last couple of decades, the Liberty Street Corridor has received empty promises and ill-conceived projects, such as the Liberty Street Market. If any neighborhood in our city needs a bailout, it’s the North Liberty Street/Fourteenth Street neighborhood. Actually, the Black residents of the Liberty Corridor deserve reparations.

The Housing Authority Of Winston-Salem’s Modest Coronavirus Prevention Measures Don’t Inspire Confidence

The Winston-Salem Journal just posted an update on the measures the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem is taking to safeguard Crystal Towers and its other public housing facilities from the spread of Coronavirus. Earlier this week, WFDD reported that HAWS had taken a few steps to address the threat of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 at Crystal Towers. Winstonwatchman.com reported earlier this month that the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (HAWS) wasn’t taking preventive measures to protect elderly and disabled residents at Crystal Towers. At HAWS’ last monthly meeting (shortly before such meetings were canceled), Executive Director, Kevin Cheshire appeared more concerned with the health and safety of his staff, than HAWS’ tenants. The deadly spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 throughout the country has shed light on just how weak our public institutions are.

East Lake Meadows: PBS Does Public Housing

“Public housing has always been both a financial proposition and a moral one. About finding not just need, somehow but measuring worth. How do we begin to sort out which of the many people who could be assisted, both need it, and somehow deserve it? It becomes a window into race relations, it’s a window into understanding the role of homeownership in society,  and it’s a way of understanding the level of compassion there is for those who do need some assistance.” 

-Lawrence Vale

“We are not mature enough as a society to look in the mirror and see how we manufactured American poverty, how we manufactured housing that was meant to seclude these poor people. And how we turned a blind eye to creating a middle-class while simultaneously excluding people from it.”

On Halting Evictions, “We Have Legal Obligations, At The Same Time We Have Moral Compasses”

Good things happen to those who demand them. Monday, Dan Rose and Phillip Carter of Housing Justice Now held a press conference calling for “an immediate halt to all eviction and foreclosure proceedings, and to ask city officials to contribute $500,000 for emergency relief during the pandemic.” They then took to social media to get the word out. HJN Winston-Salem also spoke directly to Sheriff Kimbrough and other stakeholders about halting local evictions already in the pipeline. Hopefully, the tireless efforts of Housing Justice Now will keep residents in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County from being evicted this week and lead to a statewide eviction moratorium.

HAWS Has Failed To Take Steps To Address The Coronavirus Disease

While the governor has declared a state of emergency, it’s business as usual for the Housing Authority. The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem is not taking proactive measures to protect its residents from a potential Coronavirus/COVID19 outbreak. Yesterday, after inspecting Crystal Tower’s lobby and first-floor common areas, I saw no signs that any measures had been implemented to address the potential spread of the Coronavirus Disease. Additionally, I spoke to a custodian at Crystal Towers that confirmed that no new cleaning or disinfecting measures were in place at Crystal. (I also stopped by Sunrise Towers and observed the same conditions) When I asked the receptionist at the front desk if hand sanitizer was available, she moved her small bottle of sanitizer from the back of the desk to the front of the desk, inviting me to help myself to it.

In East Winston, Art Imitates Life

Last month, the corner store at 14th and Cameron was damaged when a vehicle crashed into it. When I recently looked at the damage myself, it struck me that the 14th Street corner store is representative of the plight of East Winston. A mural painted by Marianne DiNiapoli-Mylet and Donell Williams in 2015, presents the story of Black achievement in East Winston as stops along a Safe Bus route. It’s an impressive mural and there is no denying the achievements that local African Americans have accomplished, in spite of entrenched racism. From master brickmaker George Black to politicians like Larry Womble and Earline Parmon, the history captured my the mural at 14th and Cameron is worth celebrating.

Black History Expo Reaffirms Happy Hills Historic Importance

“Happy Hill!” “Black history!” The voice of Ben Piggott rang through the Sims Recreation Center Saturday. Ben Piggott, a longtime rec center manager and organizer in Happy Hill, served as MC for the first-annual Happy Hill Black History Expo. The Happy Hill Neighborhood Association hosted the event.

Fries Memorial Moravian Raises Funds To Provide Piedmont Circle New Playground Equipment

Saturday evening, local law enforcement and politicians-Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough chief among them hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at Fries Memorial Moravian Church. Their goal was to raise $15,000 to upgrade Piedmont Circle’s pathetic playground. According to WXII, they exceeded their goal by $3,000. Eighteen thousand dollars for new playground equipment at Piedmont Circle is a wonderful thing. I commend the diverse group of folks who came together to make this happen.

The Cloverdale Apartment Redevelopment: A Shameless Example Of Profits Over People

Earlier this month, the remaining tenants at the Cloverdale Apartments were told to be out of their homes by early March. According to the Journal, approximately 45 residents remain at the decades-old apartment campus, which has become a fixture in Ardmore, with its simple brick buildings, Luthern red doors, surrounded by huge, old trees. The Cloverdale Apartments (and Ardmore Terrace Apartments) are in one of the best locations in the city, close to restaurants and retail-just a short walk from Baptist Medical Center. Residents that I spoke to on Thursday were uncertain of where they would go. They told me that application fees were costing them dearly, negating the relocation allowance that the owners of the apartments are giving them.