At the November 16 meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council, our centrist-Democrat-dominated governing body voted 7-1 to use $1 million from the City’s scarce housing assistance funds to subsidize development at Whitaker Park. Councilmember Dan Besse was the only member of the council who objected. In today’s blog Throwback Thursday blog (the first of what I hope to be regular installments), I’m going to briefly examine the City’s use of $2 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) loans to assist Brookwood Business Park while they ignored the needs of nearby Piedmont Circle.* You may ask why I’m lumping a business park with a public housing community? Brookwood and Piedmont Circle are adjacent to each other. And it’s striking to see a new business park from the City and the County’s modern Sheriff’s Office across the street from Piedmont, while Piedmont Circle appears to be frozen in time.
“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.
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.
Yesterday, the Winston-Salem Housing Authority named Kevin Cheshire its new executive director. Kevin Cheshire previously served as the Vice President of Real Estate Development and General Counsel at HAWS, where he has been employed since 2013. He replaced Larry Woods, who retired at the end of December. Cheshire told the Journal’s Wesley Young that “the mission of HAWS stays the same: To help individuals move in, up and out of assisted housing.”
Our local housing authority has a shameful history of evicting tenants “out of assisted housing.” Kevin Cheshire is the first white leader of the Winston-Salem Housing Authority in decades.