It’s About To Get A Little Easier For Crystal Towers’ Residents To Cross Sixth Street

Crystal Towers is conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Winston-Salem, at 625 W Sixth St. The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem had a buyer lined up to redevelop Crystal Towers, but HUD wouldn’t let them sell Crystal during a pandemic. Crystal Towers’ residents are just a short walk from the Central Library (when it reopens), restaurants, and the modest amenities that DTWS has to offer. But crossing Sixth Street is no easy task for many of Crystal’s approximately 200 residents, slowed down by age and/or various medical conditions. Often motorists in a hurry to get in or out of downtown exceed the speed limit on Sixth Street on their way to Trade or Broad Street.

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.

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.

Crystal Towers Residents Want The City To Address The Sixth Street Freeway In Front Of Their Building

There wasn’t a lot on the Public Safety Committee’s agenda last night. After going through a list of routine items, there was time available for the residents of Crystal Towers to speak. Three residents of Crystal Towers took to the people’s microphone last night and asked the City to address unsafe intersections at and around Crystal Towers. Shockingly, there aren’t adequate safety measures in place at Sixth and Polar,  in front of Crystal Towers. The 200-unit, 100 percent disability building, should have one of the safest intersections in the city at its doorstep.

The Housing Authority Claims That They Must Sell Crystal Towers, But Their Documents Tell A Different Story

In August 2018, the Winston-Salem Housing Authority put Crystal Towers up for sale. Last summer, the Journal reported that the Arden Group (car dealers turned real estate developers) made an offer to purchase Crystal. Yet, Crystal Towers is not a downtown redevelopment story. Selling Crystal Towers, removing 200 poor and elderly (majority POC) residents from downtown to god-knows-where is GENTRIFICATION! If you don’t believe me, ask Councilmember Jeff MacIntosh.

Crystal Towers Resident Who Was Run Over In The Street Is Determined Not To Get Pushed Out Of Downtown Winston

Last month, a resident of Crystal Towers was hit by a car at the intersection of West Fifth and Spruce. When I learned about the accident on Twitter, I had a sneaking suspicion that I knew who the victim was. The Journal’s Allison Lee Isley’s photo of an empty wheelchair in front of an EMS vehicle confirmed my suspicions. The victim was, in fact, D.D. Watkins, a wheelchair-using friend of mine who was trying to get back to Crystal Towers on a Friday afternoon when an SUV ran her over. I spoke to D.D. while she was recovering at Wake Forest Baptist and again after she returned home to Crystal Towers.

Breaking Crystal: HAWS Has Assets, Move HAWS And Save Crystal Towers!

“The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem is not your traditional housing authority. It’s the only one in the state that’s also a certified real estate firm. It’s a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers…” -Owen Covington, Triad Business Journal, Feb 18, 2011

Last August the Winston-Salem Housing Authority announced that it was putting Crystal  Towers on the market. Our local housing authority loves the market; HAWS hates public housing, they’re ‘innovative’ like that.

Breaking Crystal: What We’ve Learned In The Year Since HAWS Announced Plans To Sell Crystal Towers

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.