by Sam Hieb
I’ve written before about the aggravation that construction of Greensboro’s downtown greenway has caused me, in the process speculating that it can’t be doing the Deep Roots Market much good, considering the fact that the health food store is struggling as it is.
Today’s N&R has a front-pager on the effect greenway construction has had on businesses in its path. To be fair, it’s not just the greenway; the city —for some reason—decide to embark upon two major core infrastructure projects on Eugene Street and Fisher Avenue at the same time:
The bustle of construction on and around Eugene Street comes from a handful of separate projects on different timelines, overseen by different entities that don’t always communicate with each other — or business owners.
The longest-running project — an extension of the Downtown Greenway along Eugene Street to Fisher Avenue — began in October and is expected to wrap up by the end of this month, according to Dabney Sanders, the Downtown Greenway project manager for Action Greensboro, which partnered with the city on the project.
That’s about two months longer than businesses originally expected the project to take, said Luck Davidson, who sits on the board of directors of Triad Local First, a nonprofit organization that advocates for local independent businesses.
“I don’t think we were thinking we would be dealing with it in May,” she said.
Most businesses in the area knew the greenway extension was coming, but many were blindsided by the Eugene Street closure. Nicole Preyer, a co-owner and operator of Preyer Brewing Company, said she found out about the project only after someone mentioned it on Twitter.
“Having this stormwater project happening at the same time as the greenway project — for our little microcosm of downtown, it’s been a one-two sucker punch,” Preyer said. “I think we will see it get better once the greenway portion is done, but the overall perception of our neighborhood as being under construction will continue to affect us.”
As I’ve said before, once the greenway is completed, nothing less utopia will convince me that it’s worth the cost and aggravation. I hope to see droves of people running, biking, walking their talks; smiling and happy; toting their health food groceries from Deep Roots by hand; I hope to see obesity and crime rates rates in Greensboro plunge to depths never before seen; and —last but not least— I hope large employers see the greenway and decide that Greensboro is the place to be. I hope.