Mayor and Winston-Salem Alliance leader, Allen Joines, just announced that he will extend his Emergency Stay At Home Order for three additional weeks. The previous emergency order ran through Thursday, April 16. The new emergency order runs until May 7. Joines also announced that some federal funds were beginning to trickle down to the city. Specifically, $1.3 million in Community Block Grants and $660,00 to help the homeless “in a temporary situation.”
Downtown Winston-Salem’s main traffic artery, Salem Parkway, opened on Sunday, February 2. It had been closed since November 17, 2018. I will remember the roughly 14 months that Business 40/Salem Parkway was closed, as the long 2019. The absence of four lanes of highway running from Peters Creek to Highway 52 wasn’t catastrophic. But it was a constant annoyance.
Thoughts and reports, that’s what the poor get from the City of Winston-Salem. Sure, the City distributes a great deal of money to local non-profits, that do some decent work addressing the immediate needs of the poor. But the City of Winston-Salem is by no means marshaling the resources at its disposal to address poverty in the Twin City. At the start of Monday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Joines proclaimed September, “Think Orange Month” in Winston-Salem. The Mayor and W-S Alliance president first announced his “Think Orange” campaign in August 2018.
“Union Station is a project without a purpose.” -Robert Clark
Winston’s Union Station closed in 1970. After decades operating as Davis Garage, and years spent acquiring and rehabilitating the property, Union Station is finally open to the public. After spending a mere $20 million on the project, the City of Winston-Salem now owns a marvelous, historic building. But what exactly the City is going to do with Union Station is still anyone’s guess. Sadly, after yesterday’s grand opening, the building closed and won’t be open to the public for a while longer.
Monday, the City Council will vote on whether or not to change the name of the Dixie Classic Fair. The second-largest fair in the state has had many names over the years. It’s been known as the Dixie Classic Fair since 1956. I’m all for changing the name. The name “Dixie” was a reaction to desegregation efforts.
It was one year ago to the day that the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (HAWS) announced that it was putting Crystal Towers up for sale. The 11-story high-rise located at 625 West Sixth Street in downtown Winston-Salem, opened in 1970 and is home to approximately 200 residents.* According to Heather Fearnbach, the woman who wrote the book on Winston’s architectural heritage, Crystal Towers was the city’s first high-rise dwelling erected since the late 1920s. Crystal Towers, (along with its sister high-rise, Sunrise Towers) was designed to serve as housing for the elderly. Today, one hundred percent of Crystal Towers’ residents are elderly and or people with disabilities. These are the last folks that the Housing Authority should be evicting.
It’s time to pass a budget. The nearly $500 million, 2019-2020 City of Winston-Salem budget dominates today’s City Council agenda. Higher taxes to pay for bond obligations and stagnant pay for city workers, while councilmembers received a huge raise-these are some of the topics that will be discussed at today’s City Council meeting. The City Council will also debate purchasing land on Burke Mill Road for a new fire station. As usual, some topics that need to be discussed will be ignored.
The Winston-Salem Journal has reported that an attorney for the United Daughters of the Confederacy has asked the City of Winston-Salem to delay its plans to move the Confederate statue that stands at Fourth and Liberty:
The United Daughters of the Confederacy is asking Winston-Salem for a 60-day delay in filing any legal action to force removal of the Confederate statue at the corner of Fourth and Liberty streets on the grounds of the former Forsyth County Courthouse. James Davis, attorney for the UDC’s North Carolina Division, told City Attorney Angela Carmon in a letter dated Jan. 25 that there are questions about the ownership of the statue and whether allegations that the statue is a public or private nuisance are legally valid. -Confederate statue backers (who may or may not own it) ask city to hold off on forcing a move for the memorial, Wesley Young Winston-Salem Journal
If the UDC succeeds in delaying Mayor Joines’ plan to move the Confederate statue from Downtown Winston to Salem Cemetary, it’s time for Joines to implement his backup plan. On January 1, Joines made headlines by stating the City’s intention to move the rebel statue at Fourth and Liberty to Salem Cemetary.
Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry delivered Winston’s 39th Annual MLK Noon Hour Commemoration address on Monday. The Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University didn’t disappoint the packed audience at Union Baptist (including Mayor Joines and three rows of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County politicians, seated front and center). Harris-Perry is something of a public intellectual, widely known to the general public due to the popularity of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC (2012-2016). MHP is an author, an editor at the Nation, and Elle.com. But, Harris-Perry seldom speaks in Winston, outside of the campus of Wake Forest University.
The Triad Business Journal reported earlier this week that new census data identifies Winston-Salem as the 20th worst city, among major cities in the nation when it comes to child poverty. According to the Triad Business Journal, “more than one-third of the city’s children live in poverty.” Spectrum News posted a solid follow-up to TBJ’s reporting, giving some context to these latest census numbers. Center for the Study of Economic Mobility – Winston-Salem State University https://t.co/G4Hctlz00F pic.twitter.com/07tIIlM6jv
— Winston Watchman (@WinstonWatchman) January 19, 2019
Triad Business Journal’s reporting on alarming child poverty rates in Winston, as well as today’s Journal article on racial disparities in WS/FC Schools, should frame this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day festivities in Winston. Winston is still racially segregated and unequal, and it’s children who suffer most for the racist sins of the past. Of course, Winston has been confronted by troubling numbers in the past and not taken the problem seriously. A 2015 study by Stanford economist Raj Chetty threw a wrench in the City of Arts and Innovation’s hype machine.