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About otherstream

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  • Birthday 01/01/1908

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  1. Would've been at least the 1940s, because my mom rode the streetcars as a teenager. That's about the time most of them were replaced with buses nationwide too. FYI, because they were electric and used overhead wires, the streetcars here were owned and operated by Duke Power, as they were in many cities, which is why Greensboro had Duke Power buses for years afterward until the city finally agreed to take over the system in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Duke was contractually obligated to continue running the system for years after it had ceased to be profitable for them.
  2. Agreed completely. I was just saying that my distaste for Southpark is largely a subjective thing based on my own tastes and not necessarily a criticism of its physical characteristics. In other words, I didn't want to seem like I was saying that the fact that I don't like malls makes all malls inherently bad.
  3. Agreed. To be honest, I've never felt that the sidewalks were all that especially crowded in Dilworth or Elizabeth or Plaza-Midwood most of the time either. Southpark is what it is: a suburban shopping mall surrounded by a suburban office park. I agree that it's probably a good deal better than most other mall-centered developments and most other suburban commercial developments in general. At least in the Southpark area the stores, restaurants, and offices are close enough that you could walk to them if you were so inclined, even if you didn't see much interesting stuff along the way. My problem with the area stems less from the physical layout and more from the fact that I'm not in its target demographic; I find "upscale" malls exceedingly boring, and I'd argue that there's more "urbanity" in the re-purposed strip centers and thrift stores and ethnic markets along South Boulevard and Central Avenue that there ever will be at Southpark or any other sanitized, overplanned "mixed-use" area or project, no matter how "dense" it may be.
  4. There was also Warnersville, originally an African-American suburb south of Lee Street. It was completely obliterated by urban renewal clearance. There were also communities called Bessemer and Hilltop, although like most of the others, they weren't actually incorporated. I think Hamilton Lakes is the only actual incorporated entity that was merged into Greensboro, which is ironic since it was originally incorporated to avoid annexation. I think I recall reading that the city of Hamilton Lakes went bankrupt or had some other financial issue, but I'm not 100% certain.
  5. I largely agree that a mall's fortunes generally follow the fortunes of the surrounding area, rather than vice versa. Southpark was not directly responsible for any residential boom in the area; very few malls have that effect. But you have to admit that the presence of the mall was largely -- if not almost entirely -- responsible for all the office/business development in the area, which ultimately affected the residential component -- and will do so even more in the coming years. It's just like the effect Tyson's Corner (DC) and Lenox Square (Atlanta) had over their areas. I'd have to say that the description of Southpark as "dark, dead, and dying" in the 1980s may be a bit of an exaggeration, though. Granted, it was a few years older than Eastland and might've looked it, but I remember thinking in 1986, while managing a store across the street, that Eastland was Charlotte's dowdy and doomed mall and that Southpark was the more upscale option. Southpark may have been eclipsed briefly as the "prestige center" in town, but it was never really in such terrible shape. Like the older Friendly Center in Greensboro, which had a similar cycle, it's pretty much the top of the heap now, which wouldn't likely be the case if its past decline had been significant. None of this, mind you should be construed to suggest that I'm particularly fond of Southpark or its environs. I avoid the whole area like the plague; it's amazing how successfully it manages to be both bland and pretentious.
  6. The town of Geensborough (which initially covered an area much smaller than just downtown is today) was both laid out and incorporated in 1808 as a new and more central county seat to replace the old one at Martinsville, a separate town near Guilford Battleground. Of course, there's not a Martinsville anymore; it's all part of Greensboro now. But in 1808, Martinsville was several miles away from the new town. The only reminder of the old county seat is Martinsville Road that currently runs off Battleground Avenue. There may have been some small farms in the area that was incorporated in 1808, but there was definitely not anything resembling a town there. Even Martinsville wasn't much of a town in those days.
  7. The lighted arrows and lack of a median have a purpose, actually. Those are reversible lanes, designed so that you can have more lanes heading TO the Coliseum before an event and more headed AWAY from it afterward. The lighted arrows are there to alert you which direction the lane is going at any given moment. And the whole thing, of course, wouldn't work with a median. It's not a great system (and I'm not sure how often it's actually used on High Point Road) but it's also used on 7th Street in Charlotte and on numerous streets in Atlanta to increase capacity at rush hour. They actually removed the reversible lanes on Tyvola Road near the old Coliseum in Charlotte after it closed, since there was no more need for it. There's also a similar system on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, among others, but it's more low-tech and just uses something like traffic cones that are repositioned twice a day. I'm sure the poor slob who has to do this would probably love it if they switched to overhead lighted arrows...
  8. Strangest restaurant experience I ever had in Charlotte was back during the PTL years, when I found myself in line behind Jerry Falwell at the Burger King across from Eastland Mall. There's no real story here; he didn't try to hit on me or start preaching or anything, and I didn't tear into him either, despite being much more militant in those days. The image of Jerry and his double cheeseburger has just amused me greatly over the years.
  9. A significant number of people (that pesky majority of voters in most cities who almost universally vote down stadium and arena proposals, for example) might disagree with your definition of "progress". Which is the better definition: (1) tear down everything we don't like this week, or (2) dole out lots of corporate welfare, or (3) support glitzy, grand schemes rammed through with minimal public input? It would be helpful to know the party line so we can figure out which of us are supposed to move and which of us are allowed to stay here. Rhetorical question: if the stadium is such a guaranteed moneymaker, why aren't any speculators or developers rushing in to build it themselves and grab all this easy profit?
  10. I think it's more a case of there being opposition in any city that wants taxpayers to build new downtown stadiums, but we could argue that point all night long and none of us would likely change our minds
  11. I don't think anyone has suggested that this is a "taking". In fact, I specifically stated in my earlier post that the developer has the absolute right to develop the land he owns. I have no moral problem with him doing so in pretty much any manner he chooses, although I have my own opinions about alternative plans I might personally prefer -- and which seem to me distinctly more "urban" in character than one involving total clearance, which is the antithesis of urbanity. I do, however, have a major problem is with the city's use of tax dollars to help him develop his land. Aside from being an improper use of tax dollars, it puts an official "stamp of approval" on a plan that might not be in the best interest of all the city's residents and taxpayers. I don't agree that "the movement of crime from downtowne (sic) to elsewhere is just one cost associated with the greater good". With all due respect, it sounds as if you think the people who live in the areas that crime will migrate to are as "expendable" as the prostitutes you mention. If downtown can only flourish at the expense of other areas, there's something wrong with Winston-Salem that no ballpark will ever fix. But I guess if we "take down" every neighborhood that has some problems, we'll end up with the loveliest and most "respectable" 100 square mile suburban apartment complex our tax money can sanitize. It'll no doubt have lots of grand promenades and upscale bistros, but I bet it won't be crime-free. Let the guy build whatever the heck he wants, but the city shouldn't invest one thin dime in it. OK. I've had my say now...
  12. First, I'm not saying the project definitely shouldn't be built. I'm saying that the city has no business using some vague definition of "blight" as an excuse to subsidize a private developer in his quest for profit. While the city shouldn't stop him from making money off his land, it also shouldn't donate to the cause. Sports team owners and real estate developers are not charity cases, no matter what they claim. I'd feel the same way about this issue if the neighborhood were occupied by a trailer park or by million dollar homes. I'm also suggesting that a ballpark with smaller scale infill development might be a better choice than some grand new project that looks like every other big, generic "mixed use" project proposed for every mid-sized downtown in America. The fact that there are vacant lots between many of the houses and that a lot of land is available is an opportunity rather than a problem. It means that a lot of new structures can be built without full-scale clearance. Lastly, while I'm quite sure that the crime problem did leave your area when it was redeveloped, I'm just as sure that it also migrated to someone else's area at precisely the same moment, and that it didn't magically disappear altogther just because some buildings were torn down.
  13. Couldn't disagree more. Granted, this is not the most attractive neighborhood in Winston-Salem, but I've never seen a case where bulldozing and replacing an entire neighborhood was the best option, whether the replacement was a low-income housing project, a "live/work" development for the "creative class", or a stadium. "Blight" is a pretty subjective term which is too often used as a synonym for "these houses aren't cute enough to fit our grand vision" or "there are black (poor, etc.) people living in them". Funny thing: when you bulldoze a "blighted" area, the neighborhood next door to it has a strange tendency to suddenly take on the characteristics of the neighborhood that was torn down or "cleaned up". The people who live there don't just mysteriously vanish into thin air, nor do their problems. This whole thing reeks of the worst kind of 1960s "urban renewal" where cities were given carte blanche (and lots of money) to clear entire areas as long as they could find some excuse to call them "blighted" -- and as long as the people living there didn't have the ability to fight back. If the developer wants to go forward with this scheme using his own money, that's one thing. If he owns the land, it's his right. But the city has absolutely no business subsidizing an endeavor that will more or less level a neighborhood (even a "blighted" one) and deprive several hundred people of their homes. I thought we got over that nonsense thirty or forty years ago, back when West End was the "blighted" area in question.
  14. I just happened to drive by the old Super Kmart at Independence and Sardis Road North yesterday and noticed it had sprouted a Steve & Barry's sign, although the building still looks empty.
  15. They probably believe the old theatre closed specifically because it was only three screens rather than due to its location. And they may well have been right. It's almost impossible to make money on a small operation like that these days; that's why one- to four-screen cinemas are closing all over the country, even in higher income neighborhoods. I think a newer, larger theatre complex at Eastland might be a gold mine if it can adequately address the perceived security issues.
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