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DwnTwnRaleighGuy

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Most of the time, Wal-Marts are required to add the road/traffic control improvements on their own dime, just as any neighborhood built has to add turn lanes.

The debate here isn't just about Wal-Mart, it's about ANOTHER $1 million spent downtown (in addition to the convention center, the amphitheater, the re-opening of F Street, the cash payment to build the RCC's hotel, etc.) and $0 going to SE Raleigh, NE Raleigh, West Raleigh or genreally any other part of Raleigh for development.

How much has been spent downtown vs. how much did they city invest (if anything at all) to spawn Wakefield. Cause Wakefield is the reason the Wake Forest Wal-Mart exists. And the Wake Forest SuperTarget, Home Depot, Lowes and all the other retail on the US 1 corridor.

The city didn't have to spend that money to force Wakefield to be built, or Brier Creek, or Triangle Town Center. And yet the road improvements needed out that way still haven't been made (widening Falls of the Neuse or US 1). But those projects are all ugly nasty sprawl and the central planners thumb their collective noses at those type things.

So let's compare apples to apples here. Compare the City's investment in Wakefield ($0) to its resulting tax generation vs. the City's investment downtown (hundreds of millions -- $300 million possibly) vs. the resulting tax generation there.

I'll take the ROI on Wakefield.

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The city didn't have to spend that money to force Wakefield to be built, or Brier Creek, or Triangle Town Center. And yet the road improvements needed out that way still haven't been made (widening Falls of the Neuse or US 1). But those projects are all ugly nasty sprawl and the central planners thumb their collective noses at those type things.

Falls of Neuse and US 1 are State-owned roads. The problem with those falls on NCDOT, not the city of Raleigh. As far as US 1 goes, NCDOT has an expansion plan in the works to make it 8 lanes all the way to Wake Forest, but who knows knowing them when we will ever see it. There is also money being spent by the city on some of the major feeder roads off of Capital. One in particular, Perry Creek Rd, is being completely overhauled (going from 2 lanes to 4 lanes plus a turn lane) for the most part, costing the city millions.

Edited by Gard

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Most of the time, Wal-Marts are required to add the road/traffic control improvements on their own dime, just as any neighborhood built has to add turn lanes.

The debate here isn't just about Wal-Mart, it's about ANOTHER $1 million spent downtown (in addition to the convention center, the amphitheater, the re-opening of F Street, the cash payment to build the RCC's hotel, etc.) and $0 going to SE Raleigh, NE Raleigh, West Raleigh or genreally any other part of Raleigh for development.

I think you are pulling at straws trying back up distaste for city money spent in any fashion. Fair enough...I hate taxes in general too. But trying to say investing in the health of downtown vs. supporting a Wal-Mart is wrong is ridiculous. This is not the Randy Parton Theater. Would the City be wise to let prime commercial space in a building it owns sit idle?

How much has been spent downtown vs. how much did they city invest (if anything at all) to spawn Wakefield. Cause Wakefield is the reason the Wake Forest Wal-Mart exists. And the Wake Forest SuperTarget, Home Depot, Lowes and all the other retail on the US 1 corridor.

The city didn't have to spend that money to force Wakefield to be built, or Brier Creek, or Triangle Town Center. And yet the road improvements needed out that way still haven't been made (widening Falls of the Neuse or US 1). But those projects are all ugly nasty sprawl and the central planners thumb their collective noses at those type things.

The true costs of developments like Wakefield are never realized up front. As Gard points out it is linked to the City by State maintained roads...roads the shifty developer made promises about...promises they had no power to influence (sure the bridge will be there in no time at all!). Raleigh's cost per citizen for fire and police water sewer and trash out that far is much higher than those services when provided close in. That is part of why the City finally had to decide to relocate its trash maintenance yard out to the Raleigh Blvd area. Why police recently became districted. The drought speaks for itself...can Wakefield and Brier Creek pay for a new yard watering resevoir?

So let's compare apples to apples here. Compare the City's investment in Wakefield ($0) to its resulting tax generation vs. the City's investment downtown (hundreds of millions -- $300 million possibly) vs. the resulting tax generation there.

I'll take the ROI on Wakefield.

That 300 million was County and City Hotels and Meals tax receipts...not just Raleigh...a technicality. Not a technicality is how much of this tax (half of which sits squarely on the shoulders of mostly visitors to this area...not residents) has gone to outside downtown Raleigh....the RBC Center got 70 million of it up front and is set to get another 60 million for renovations.....but really that part is irrelevant to this current discussion......the 'burbs all over Raleigh get City funded 4 laners all the time...even southeast raleigh......in time they will get repaved, widened, polished with new signs, boom signals, crepe myrtle medians.....the taxpaying landvalue of downtown I imagine is quite tired of subsidizing all this fancy stuff way out away from itself....the folksies down here might like a nice new restaurant to eat at. I am sure they are glad to be provided an amenity for once...an amenity that will pay for itself. Empire Properties for one, rountinely upfits a space for its tenants. This is normal in Raleigh though not in all parts of the country. I doubt this came out of thin air too. I can see Bill Johnson(Progress Energy) or Scott Custer(RBC) talking to Meeker or Allen one night and saying, you know we promised to put our headquarters here, but there still isn't a place to take the overseas investors that isn't completely embarrassing.......Meeker and Allen look at each other and the light bulb goes off....

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This is way out of Southeast Raleigh, but it does show how little Southeast Raleigh has received compared to the rest of the city, and why that happened.

Wal-mart pays for the cheap *initial* widening for stores in *desireable* locations. Road maintenance, police, fire, etc. is immediatly handed off to the city. (See also the traffic lights near Brier Creek.) It also gets tax breaks by holding job fairs, promoted by the NC Employment Security Commission. For the SE Raleigh store, wal-mart wanted the city to provide all that, since it is "helping" the surrounding neighborhood.

The problem with sprawl is that it keeps going outward for new greenfields, and often those are outside city limits. Poole Road was the last significant four lane improvment in SE Raleigh, yet a significant chunk of sales tax revenue with it went to sprawl strip malls in Garner, Knightdale, and even Clayton. Why? Because is little non-grocery retail in SE Raleigh and no plans (other than the wal-mart) to change that. The same argument can be made with southwest Raleigh vs. Cary.

i.e. Why widen a four lane road in SE/SW Raleigh if most of the sales tax is going to neighboring towns? North Raleigh didn't have this problem because it just kept annexing to the north and west. Wakefield is *barely* attached to the city's limits.

The same rationale should have been applied to Wakefield, but it wasn't because the then-developer controlled planning commission and city council rubber stamped it.

Meanwhile, Falls of Neuse, Durant, etc were widened by the city, not the developer. The city extended water, sewer, etc. even further north, and provided a decent uptick in our daily water useage and paid little in the way of impact fees. We're told it will "pay for itself" ... over 20+ years, even though the bills for that work are paid for by the existing tax base. New Falls of Neuse was built (cheaply) by the developer, but now the city has to maintain it. To say nothing of the $10 million (and rising) costs for the new road and bridge to connect "old" Falls of Neuse to New FoN that NC DOT wants to contribute as little as possible to funding. To say nothing of the mass transit that will be stretched beyond sane limits when $4+/gallon gas kicks in.

But the sales tax revenue go to the Wake Forest Wal-mart, the Wake Forest Super Target, Wake Forest Home Depot, etc. Notice a trend there? Wake Forest is getting the return on investment, not Raleigh. And Raleigh's investment has been a lot higher than $0. So no, that was a horrible investment, even though proponents continue to tell us otherwise.

Meanwhile, the investmentment in downtown has already paid for itself in the increased property values, business recruitment, etc. I know it is easy to forget, but the Royal Bank of Canada's U.S. operations *used* to be based in Rocky Mount, but will soon be based on F Street. And Capital Bank was spread out all over the area but now has a signifiant HQ downtown. And the Canadian electric equipment company is coming to downtown as well. And Cherokee. And Stewart Engineering. A wal-mart never attracted anything like that, outside of Arkansas.

The people who work at those jobs need to eat, sleep, etc. and bring their families with them. Since they are in the heart of downtown, it is likely those dollars will stay in Raleigh and not go to neighboring towns.

The Triangle Town Center area, however, is recouping some of the existing tax base that used to shop at North Hills and Crabree, and is "stealing" the potential tax base from cities and counties to the north and east -- Wake Forest, Knightdale, Franklin County, Nash county.

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(edited to incorporate the MLK Gardens article)

The N&O ran back to back stories on the ghost of Chavis Park's past and the sparse surroundings of the Martin Luther King gardens at MLK Blvd and Rock Quarry road. The Chavis Park article discusses how the park used to be an attraction in the segregation era, but how attendance and city funding have been on a downward spiral since. The city recently expanded land available for MLK gardens, but no funds for plants, benches, etc.

Why can't the two projects be combined? Moving the MLK statue to Chavis Park could offer the opportunity to have a display of King's trips to Raleigh in the existing community center. There is already a lot of parking, restrooms, picnic shelters, and playground/ballfield facilities at Chavis that are empty when school class tours would visit. Buliding another set of bathrooms and other facilities at MLK gardens would be overkill, since the sites are about one mile apart.

The new residents of Chavis Heights will make Chavis Park more active, but incorporating the MLK gardens would enhance the importance of the site. Chavis Park is nice and has great views of the downtown skyline. And it received an art installation last year that wasn't Cab Calloway. Maybe Octavia Rainey thinks a visit by Mr. Calloway is more important than the Tuskegee airmen honored by Glimpes of the Promised Land.

The King sculpture and gardens could increase "community pride", which seems to be sorely lacking at present. Broken glass did not get into the pool on its own, and the community did not replace the old airplane flown by the Tuskegee airmen with any other tribute to them until recently. There is no "friends of Chavis Park" group that I know of.

It is sad that there is more support for a theoretical park (Dix) than the existing one at Chavis. The $20 million offered by the city to purchase the Dix property would fund Chavis for well over 100 years given the current budget numbers. The current MLK site could be sold for private development -- the NE MLK/Rock Quarry corner is already zoned for a shopping center and has been considering redevlopment plans for years. And that money could be used to spruce up Chavis Park, which currently has little "curb appeal" from MLK Blvd.

The Shaw football team makes the most use of Chavis Park facilities, using the track for practice. The park's playground and tennis courts do not get the as much use as similar parks elsewhere, but could be higher profile as part of a more significant site.

Neither article mentions the Top Greene Community Center, two blocks to the west of Chavis Park. Chavis Park could receive more operating funds if Top Green and MLK gardens did not also require their own annual budgets. These three sites are also competing for park budget dollars with Roberts Park on Martin Street, the Tarboro Road community center, and the Davie Street mini-park halfway between Chavis and Roberts Parks. There are other city pools competing for visitors -- Biltmore pool a couple of miles south of Chavis off Cross Link Road and Longview pool, near Enloe off New Bern Ave.

Chavis Park's carousel was to be refurbished by funds from the 2003 parks bond, but construction has yet to start. The initial plan was to build a new house for the carousel and tear down the old one, but now the current carousel house is to be saved though there are no plans or funding to do anything with it. It is far from the community center and pool, but could be a small bandshell for smaller acts.

Chavis Park was great when it was the only pie in that part of town, but now Southeast Raleigh has several small pieces that are less attractive due to being split several ways. MLK gardens add another cut making each piece that much smaller.

Edited by ncwebguy

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I am very discouraged about SE Raleigh today. I am not sure how many of you realize this but there have been several likely gang-related shootings in the past few weeks, including a drive by spray of bullets near the 700 block of Martin Street (a long time drug haven). There was a shooting right near Ligon GT Magnet school on Tipton near Church Street and a shooting near Martin and Camden. I was not able to find anything in the local news about these incidents. I plan on talking to the new powers that be at RPD soon about how this area seems to be getting even worse... hard to imagine.

Is this area so written off by the City and citizens in other parts of town that even crimes like this seem to go unnoticed? I regret that I was unable to attend the recent meeting to discuss development of City owned property on the 700 block of Martin Street. What does the city have in mind here? I can tell you that Martin Street seems more dangerous to me recently than it was a year ago. There is major drug activity right near where children play at the Birchwood Housing complex. Late last week we observed what appeared to be a high speed chase right down Camden Street. Drug dealers make open air transactions right on the street completely ignored. None of the neighbors want to report these crimes b/c they feel there would be revenge. There seems to be growing gang activity in the area. Is the new police chief aware of this place? What is he going to do about this? Is the City even paying attention.

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I've been looking for news stories about shootings in SE Raleigh, especially in/near the 700 block of East Martin, but haven't seen any lately. For the last 30 days, the Raleigh Police Map shows a couple of robberies near the Camden/Martin intersection, and aggravated assaults near Camden/Hargett, Martin/east of Camden, and Gregg St south of MLK. But no homicides.

Since November, it seems the police have shut down a drug house on Haywood Street just south of Martin and a house in the 900 block of East Hargett. The number of people "hanging out" on 700 East Martin seems to be higher, but that may be a perception problem on my part. With the houses torn down between the shopping center and Haywood Street, I can see more of the area from Haywood. I have seen a lot of "spotter" activity on Hargett -- people crossing the street a lot and/or walking to the YWCA and then turning around. A few months ago, officers said that by shutting one gang down put the area back "in play" with rival gangs doing what they can to establish their territory.

At the last CAC meeting, District 2-4 Cpt. Earnhardt said Chief Dolan is making some changes to scheduling to make it easier on officers. Also, there is some shifting in specialized units which will result in more officers in district 2-4 since it has highest crime problem. I will give the new system some time to see if it works. I don't know what the future of the CHOICES program -- the effort to shut down open air drug markets. There was a test run on/near Bragg Street that had some successes, but the cost/benefit ratio might have been less than ideal. I was hoping Martin Street would see a similar program, and RPD may be doing undercover work now to establish cases against the gang(s) in place there now.

There are now *no* residents on the 700 block of Martin Street, and the city owns a lot of property in the area. So there are no vested resdients or property owners on the street 24/7. The residents in the housing projects on Camden are scared and/or don't want to get into any trouble.

A few weeks ago, the city had a meeting/survey with area residents want to see the city do with the land they own. They showed mock-ups of different mixes of office, live/work units, apartments (with and without retail), and single-family houses. The city has an interest in the area by virtue of owning the NE Martin/Haywood corner, the SE Martin Haywood corner and land between it and the shopping center, the east side of Haywood minus one house still standing between Martin and Davie (the boarded up houses in Google's streetview have since been torn down), and the south side of Martin from Haywood to Camden minus the two white buildings closeish to Haywood and public housing's parking lot. In Google's streetview images of the shopping center, there is a limo in the east end of the parking lot... more than a little suspicous. And three people "hanging out" while a fourth appears to be sweeping up. Maybe RPD needs to send around some cars with cameras on them?

The house on the SW Martin/Haywood corner has been rebuilt, though it may be a few months until it is ready for residents. It has taken a while, but is good to see the eyesore replaced by what looks like a pretty good house, though the high fence makes it hard to see.

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I've been looking for news stories about shootings in SE Raleigh, especially in/near the 700 block of East Martin, but haven't seen any lately. For the last 30 days, the Raleigh Police Map shows a couple of robberies near the Camden/Martin intersection, and aggravated assaults near Camden/Hargett, Martin/east of Camden, and Gregg St south of MLK. But no homicides.

While trying to find shootings, keep in mind the way police stats are reported (and you may already know this; if so, it's just a tip for others): If someone is robbed and shot/stabbed/beat, it is reported as a robbery. Shootings and stabbings are reported as aggravated assaults only if they are NOT part of a robbery.

The only reason more shootings don't turn into homicides is because WakeMed is so close, and so good at what they do.

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That is why I "turned on" robberies, assaults, and homicides to look for crime on/near the 700 block of East Martin.

Only giving 30 days of data doesn't paint an accurate picture of long term trends. This is especially true in this area, since "open air" activity decreases during the colder months. The worst time is spring when new battles in ongoing gain/maintain turf wars. Also when school gets out and kids have nothing else to do, criminal activity goes up.

Since RPD has been using trending software, they are not caught off guard. But nothing less than a police state (which no one wants) would eliminate crime in the area. The owner of the shopping center has petitioned council for more police presence in the area, and often attends community meetings. But with few (if any) residents with a view of the area, it is difficult to get witnesses.

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I don't think there is one solution, but I would think the quicker the city turned around the property they have into some nice low density apartments or condos, the quicker that area would stabilize. As we've discussed before, home ownership is a huge stabilizing factor for any neighborhood... the more homeowners you have, typically the more stable and safe it is. It's not rocket science. Combine that with a continuation of the High Point borrowed Choices program, and upgrading police patrols, and I think that would be a good start. I'm not going to pretend to think I know all the answers, but one would think that the city and the neighborhood must encourage economic investment, and that may bring gentrification risks along with it, but ultimately neighborhood leaders should ask: is the status quo working?

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If the city owns so much land around the areas discussed above and present housing projects have problems, why not do what the city did with Capital Park on Halifax Street. Those projects used to be the worst in town and now they are quite safe. They are still for low-income residents as well. Sometimes it only takes new facilities, community willingness, and it works!

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I sense a pretty difficult "rock and a hard place" situation.....its not cheap to pour money into a Halifax Ct style rehab...thats why the Hope VI grants were created. Also the community as webguy points out, Octavia Rainey et al, seem to be fighting efforts with no clear realistic outcome in mind themselves. As an aside, instead of preserving poor neighborhoods for minorities, it makes more sense to enable minority populations to be able to have the education, jobs, income and ability to buy, live and create space of their choosing...but that view does nothing in the short time span that we are all looking for to improve open air drug markets and flaunted prostitution.......east downtown has been doing better recently but seems to have hit a wall in 700 east martin.....

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The problem is that even if everyone in the neighborhood had well-paying jobs, the "cuture" of "stop snitching" would keep the illegal vice market thriving. There is no residential with a view of shopping center, but there are plenty of other shopping centers that don't have similar problems. The house on the SW Martin/Haywood corner looks good, and the flipped house next door sold last week, so the 600 block of East Martin appears to be improving.

One of the major problems with gentrification is the "new" people don't understand that other people already lived in the affected neighborhood. The problem in this area, however, is that a lot of the housing stock has been empty for a while, or they are rented out to a transitional population that moves somewhere else as soon as they have the means to do so -- Raleigh Housing Authority property and slumlords who do as little maintenance as possible to keep rent low and profit high. This has created a vacum of stakeholders in the area other than the city and the slumlords. The slumlords are more than happy with the status quo. It is hard to respect the history of the area if existing residents of the area have no respect for it.

"Community leaders" are happy with the status quo as well. A scorched earth around the 700 block of East Martin is ok if that keeps gentrification away and concentrates/contains crime away from "community leader" neighborhoods -- east across Tarboro Road, north toward St. Augs. or south toward South Park. As much as the rest of Raleigh doesn't care about the area, SE Raleigh "leaders" care only enough to make sure it doesn't affect them directly.

The "community leaders" of today grew up during segregation and look back at the tight-knit neighbor-helping-neighbor community with rose-colored glasses of their youth. They want to maintain the segregated neighborhood, using phrases like "cultural heritage" to gloss over their racist views.

The city has spent a lot of money to match Hope VI grants for Halifax Court/Capital Park *and* the redevloped Chavis Heights. And they were owned by the federal government, not the city (Raleigh Housing Authority). Those projects also had more "bang for the buck", occupying a lot more land than the two half blocks occupied by Birchwood along Camden Lane from Hargett to Davie.

There was an offer years ago by Empire Properties to purchase all the land from the city and act as a master planner, devloping some lots and selling others to community based non-profits, Habitat for Humanity, etc. But the "community" said no. So the empty buildings sat for years until their recent teardowns. The city is soliciting input for what to put in its RFP for the area, and again the "community" is doing everything it can to gum up the works. They want Habitat to build on all the land, despite the fact they don't have the volunteer labor or donations to build that many houses. And building nothing but low income housing will result in a low income neighborhood that sees mimimal economic invsetment. And is easily infested by the criminal element.

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Some observations more east downtown than SE Raleigh....a rundown cindar block convienent store at Bloodworth and Cabarrus was just torn down...its immediately south of where most of Gordon Smiths houses were relocated and I thought a bit of a drag on the area, and also a big fenced in lot south of All Saints Chapel's new location (same block) has a big for sale sign on it. Its also just east of the federal complex parking lot, so this a chance for one big empty parking lot that looked like it'd never go away, to hopefully be developed.

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That little convenience store, The H&H, had been shut down and vacant for just over a year. The land (and former building) is owned by the city. I'm confident G. Smith was instrumental in its demolition. As much as I liked having that store in the neighborhood, when it shut down the neighborhood took a real turn for the better.

Again, I liked that store -- I liked knowing the people that ran it, I liked it that they knew me, I liked being able to walk up to get a six pack late at night (for a reasonable price) or a bag of grits in the morning (for an exorbitant price). But that was also the problem; that store survived selling alcohol to adults and candy to children. When I first moved to the neighborhood, I went into the store one morning to ask if they sold the paper. The clerk laughed and said, "We've got rolling papers. But if you want a newspaper, you'll have to go to City Market."

As a result, the store was a magnet for the worst elements of the neighborhood. About two years ago, it was robbed and one of the clerks was shot twice in the leg. Six months later, the clerk told me that the city was shutting them down -- I assume they didn't renew the lease. Almost immediately after they locked the doors, I stopped getting late night knocks on the door from indigents trying to sell yard tools or just asking for "a few dollars to buy gas". I didn't have liquor bottles in my yard in the morning. And loitering and police activity on that corner was nearly eliminated.

Sad as it may be, I'm afraid these little stores are a real haven for crime and vice and they can hold these neighborhoods down.

But I still miss it!!

Does anyone know of a little corner store in SE Raleigh that DOESN'T mar a neighborhood? I feel like they'd have to limit alcohol sales and close early, but think of how much profit would be lost! It doesn't make much business sense.

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The lot on the NW corner of Hargett and East has had the for sale sign for a little over a week, and I was on vacation last week...

naicarolantic.com, the agency on the sign, has 125 South Bloodworth listed as .88 acres for $2,102,273/acre resulting in a $1.85 M sales price, zoned residential business. If I win powerball's 230 M jackpot, I'm buying it and building apartments above a nice community store/coffee shop!

As for the H&H Mart, I didn't live close enough to just casually walk by and shop. I have been hoping a similar store would open in the retail portion of Carlton Place, but no takers so far... Ugh. A market that serves downtown and the east side, with some parking similar to Seven Even (I refuse to call it Peace Street Market!), would be ideal, but I don't know if it will happen.

One decent community store (though it probably sells more alcohol than "other") is on the east edge of Oakwood, at Lane and Linden. Mrs. Exum's store on the north side of the 700 block of East Martin is nice, but there are too many people loitering outside to make most people feel safe going there. The store at East Martin and Tarboro is more of a "rolling papers" store, as are the "stores" at East Lenoir and Haywood, and Lenoir and Swain, if they are still there. The stores on/near Garner Road seem suspsect as well. The city bought the store on State street south of MLK, with no plans of keeping it open too long. I too want a "good" store with The Paper, and don't like the kinds of people "bad" stores (with rolling papers) attract. But the density/money numbers seem to not work out, for now. Hopefully that'll change before too long.

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Ha! The "Quality Grocery" at Lane and Linden ain't nothin but a wino store. Well, actually now it sells a lot of lottery tickets. And posts the names of big winners. Very exciting. They used to sell individual cigarettes; they may still. Once I went there to get some milk. They had to go back to their personal refrigerator in another room to get it. Another time I bought some orange juice there; it had gone bad from too long on the shelf.

Patience, y'all. It will get better. I've been on Lane St. for 22 years. Two steps forward, one step back. Two steps back, one step forward. Then five steps forward. The crack house is gone. The liquor house is gone. One day the wino store will be gone. In some ways I liked it better back then, actually. That's not to say I haven't worked hard for improvement. No, all the slumlords & city councilors know me. But if everything were "perfect" I'd have to move elsewhere so I'd have something to do.

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The lot on the NW corner of Hargett and East has had the for sale sign for a little over a week, and I was on vacation last week...

naicarolantic.com, the agency on the sign, has 125 South Bloodworth listed as .88 acres for $2,102,273/acre resulting in a $1.85 M sales price, zoned residential business. If I win powerball's 230 M jackpot, I'm buying it and building apartments above a nice community store/coffee shop!

As for the H&H Mart, I didn't live close enough to just casually walk by and shop. I have been hoping a similar store would open in the retail portion of Carlton Place, but no takers so far... Ugh. A market that serves downtown and the east side, with some parking similar to Seven Even (I refuse to call it Peace Street Market!), would be ideal, but I don't know if it will happen.

One decent community store (though it probably sells more alcohol than "other") is on the east edge of Oakwood, at Lane and Linden. Mrs. Exum's store on the north side of the 700 block of East Martin is nice, but there are too many people loitering outside to make most people feel safe going there. The store at East Martin and Tarboro is more of a "rolling papers" store, as are the "stores" at East Lenoir and Haywood, and Lenoir and Swain, if they are still there. The stores on/near Garner Road seem suspsect as well. The city bought the store on State street south of MLK, with no plans of keeping it open too long. I too want a "good" store with The Paper, and don't like the kinds of people "bad" stores (with rolling papers) attract. But the density/money numbers seem to not work out, for now. Hopefully that'll change before too long.

Please anything other than a coffee shop. :rolleyes:

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My few exposures to Quality Grocery were just getting soda and/or snack. They seemed to carry bread, "milk", and some other staples, though the alcohol case was large... and they were the first place I saw a lit NC Lottery sign.

I didn't check the expiration dates on anything, and the hardwood floor had seen better days, but it seemed to be a better "store" than the one further east on the SW corner of Lane and Idlewild.

The "coffee shop" is a loose approximation of my idea -- the old Black Dog cafe in city market, but with more people snacks and items, aks a more practical NoFo at the Pig. A "third place" without being a carbon copy of Third Place in Five Points.

I'm happy with "imperfect", though the less crime the better.

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There are two constructoin projects (that I know of) on Shaw's campus.

The most noticible one is the expansion of classrooms and labs near the Wilmington/South corner, across from Memorial Auditorium. I think it is biology/chemistry related, but could be healt care as well.

They are also building a day care center / teaching lab for students that will pursue day care careers, under construction for a while now on the NW corner of Bloodworth and Lenoir. I haven't seen much activity there in the last couple of months, though I only get by there once a month or so.

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So I ventured over to SE Raleigh on my bike to check out the newly rebuilt Chavis Hope VI community project next to Chavis Park and Ligon Middle School. I must say that it's a big improvement over the old housing project, but I am unimpressed with the site layout and design. Connectivity is poor, there is a continuous black metal fence surrounding the community, and the housing is basically a typical suburban design. Color me unimpressed.

Maybe there were some reasons for this suburban layout in an urban context, but I'd hoped for more of a Capitol Park treatment with a nice grid and housing facing the street. See for yourself:

2800150980098570895S600x600Q85.jpg

I don't like the setbacks, nor the fencing everywhere.

2466075730098570895S600x600Q85.jpg

This interior street doesn't even connect to the other side.

2541945700098570895S600x600Q85.jpg

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There was talk to design the new Chavis Heights with CPTED - Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles in mind, but it seems like it was just rubber stamped, if that.

The fencing is does not impair visibility, but is a bit too high I think -- it makes it feel more like prison than a welcoming community. Though a lot of the "neighbors" will walk across any yard not fenced in to creat a shortcut, which leads to a lot of fences along sidewalks.

I have no idea why there is no cross street. Dead ends create "defendable spaces" but sometimes the criminals become the ones defending "their turf" from rival gangs and the police.

The old Chavis Heights was a set of ugly diagonals that did not do much for lighting, common space, etc. This is an improvement, but it could have been a lot better. Other than the senior living building, I don't think the community was given much opportuinty for input, other than tear down the old since it had fallen into such a state of disrepair.

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I was checking out the N&O today, and what did I run across? An eerily similar critique of the remade Chavis Heights project. I was just over there again showing my GF the area where I went to school (Ligon) and mentioned to her the unspoken "keep out" message of the new Chavis Heights.

Not suprisingly, the

Hapgood [of RHA] isn't shy about explaining why the fence went up at Chavis and not Capitol Park, which also house families of mixed incomes. "The crime around Halifax was not bad," she said. "The crime was mostly on Halifax. That is not true at Chavis. Both areas to the north and the south have significant crime."

But to outside observers, the new Chavis Heights says "Keep Out."

It's not just the fence, said Barrie, the N.C. State professor. All of the buildings point inward, away from the street. People inside can't interact with people outside.

"It's a mini-prison," said Southeast Raleigh activist Octavia Rainey. "And that place was built with public money."

Chavis Heights is sandwiched between the park and Ligon GT Magnet Middle School, which figured heavily into the design, said Larry Zucchino, a managing principal with JDavis Architects.

On top of security on the Lenoir side, designers had to accommodate hundreds of children spilling out of buses at Ligon next door. A major goal of the project was to reduce cut-through traffic, he said.

"People are not walking through your private space," he said. "That starts informing your design."

I think the design was an overreaction to the crime in the area. So, what, a fence is going to keep the people inside safe when there's purported "significant crime" surounding it? That doesn't make much sense to me, and it appears that at least some in the SER community (Rainey) agree.

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One of the purposes of the Hope VI grants was to address crime associated with massed low income housing. Surely the City does not intend to just happily let the surrounding area fester forever? I don't see people on east Hargett fencing themselves off.

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