Only Because it’s Newsworthy- Reaction to CNN’s Story on Greensboro

Microbreweries are cool, fun and positive, but not quite newsworthy enough. Natty Green's, Downtown Greensboro December 2009

The local Facebook and Twitter and Blogosphere are heating up with a controversial article on Greensboro, NC written by CNN. Much like the one they wrote about Charlotte earlier, it spares no bones in highlighting and illuminating some of the more negative aspects of the city.

What I want to ask though, is what do we have that’s positive and unique? Are any of those things newsworthy?

How about Center City Park? On a summer afternoon and even a chillier fall or winter one, you can come, sit on a bench, play on your laptop, cuddle with your lover and let your kids run around right in the middle of downtown. Then you can walk down and enjoy a number of quality restaurants and bars. Sadly though, we are not unique in this, even small towns are revitalizing their downtowns and adding parks and restaurants.

Well, maybe we could highlight our wonderful multi-modal transportation center. It’s a great example of historic preservation, services the Greensboro Transit Authority buses and also Amtrak. But still, the buses and the train are sometimes late. Other towns and cities have this too. Yet, it’s still the largest historical depot in the state of North Carolina.

Even though jobs have been moving away, we still have one good home grown corporation. It’s called RF Micro Devices and it makes semiconductor chips. Wait, you thought all of the technology companies were in Raleigh? Think again. The company made just over 1 billion dollars and its revenue is expected to rise. They are also adding a new business unit.

Still, big companies aren’t always the greatest or most unique either. How about Elsewhere Artists Collaborative? How many places have an old thrift store, with items from the 1930’s through the 1990’s artfully arranged? How many of these thrift stores hosts artists from around the country who use said found objects to create new works of art? Oh and they have a nice grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Unfortunately, it’s the negative that sells papers and dominates airwaves these days. Not the nice walkable Southside and other near downtown neighborhoods. Not the public school system that offers many educational choices to students and has raised its graduation rates among minority students. These young students  bear the brunt of the acts of racism the original article profiled that were committed and still continue on.

Yet, a new generation of leaders rises in Greensboro. Ones that can see past the wounds of our past. Ones that have solutions to bring to the council chambers. Ones who have found better ways to worship. And others who just love their city, warts and all.

That generation will hopefully usher in an era that result in the first municipality of its size to reject traditional landfill practices and push for the conversion of waste to fuel instead. A generation that will see public transit and bicycling running side-by-side and throughout the Downtown Greenway. Streets without homeless, because we succeeded in our goal of eradicating the homeless population in our county in ten years. New nanotechnology discovered on the once “bad” side of town.

And then maybe one day CNN can come back and report on that. After all, all those things make us unique too. But in a good way.

  • Those are all good points. I like coming to downtown for its unique offerings. We used to go to Friendly Center a lot (I live in Reidsville) but now we go to Alamance Crossing just to vary it up. Still, downtown has a lot to offer and when I go there I see a lot of people of all backgrounds getting a long just fine. I think it is the people who don’t get out and live in the now and plan for the future who still want to argue about the divisions. But that, unfortunately, is a large segment of folks of any town.

    • Agreed and a lot of folks don’t know that it’s the infrastructure of E. Greensboro that is holding some people back. But if you aren’t educated properly, you sometimes assume the worst. Believe me, diversity in the younger generation is alive, well and a positive force

      • One of my passing interests is geography and urban planning, especially from an historical perspective, so I much admire what you are doing here. Would love to hear more about that infrastructure issue you raise.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t know all the details on that but from what I have heard, the water and sewer systems are not up to par and cannot handle larger scale developments. However, with this side being predominately black in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if infrastructure was withheld. As we’ve seen with the landfill, East Greensboro gets it’s share of bad infrastructure and planning deals.