Just a week after trying to connect some dots between N.C. A&T’s financial issues and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, Greensboro City Councilman Mike Barber had some more hard questions at tonight’s council meeting.

Barber brought up the situation surrounding the East Market Street streetscape, which was part of a $73 million bond voters approved in 2000 for transportation projects. Turns out A&T agreed to donate $750,000 toward the section of the section of the streetscape that runs in front of the campus. The city’s still waiting, Barber says:

It seems very clear to me that A&T made a commitment of $750,000 to the City of Greensboro…. First we said please give us the money….. then we said we’ll term it over years, then we tried to reduce the money, then it got to the point where we said said ‘just mow the grass in the median.’ And we got nothing. We based our bond on that and we did a lot of things detrimentally relying on the representations of that administrative staff at A&T.

Of course, Barber is talking about the administrative staff of former Chancellor James Renick. Fellow council member and mayoral candidate Yvonne Johnson rushed to A&T’s defense, suggesting a kinder and gentler approach toward current A&T Chancellor Stanley Battle:

A better and more positive way to approach that is to approach the administration……This man was not a part of that, and I think it would be far more positive to approach this person first to see if there’s some way they’re willing to keep the agreement that we finally reached with them instead of going after it in any way that would be —- (pause)— discouraging to him or to the new administration.

Barber definitely sees a correlation between A&T stiffing the city and the revelations in the state audit, referring to letters from Renick stating that A&T simply didn’t have the money. Unfortunately, Barber knuckled under to Johnson. He originally wanted to direct the legal staff to look into what recourse the city had in recovering the money, but he ended up making a motion directing staff to draw up a letter to Battle requesting an that he evaluate the situation in hopes of reaching an agreement.

All I have to say to the City of Greensboro is good luck with that.