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JerseyBoy

Do You Think DWSP is a Failed Organization?

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After a few years of observing and following development in downtown Winston-Salem, I've noticed that DWSP does little to nothing to make downtown a better place. Most downtown organizations try to get retail back to their area, push for environmentally friendly ways of transportation, and have codes for all new buildings that get constructed so that they fit in with the downtown area and are pedestrian friendly. After interviewing a lead member of the DWSP staff, I brought these issues up to him and all I got was either "no comment" or "we're trying." Don't get me wrong, downtown has made great strides in the past few years, but that has been because of the City of W-S creating the Restaurant Loan program and a renewed interest in downtown living. In my eyes, DWSP is nothing but a spokesperson for downtown and an event organizer. No chain/national retail has been constructed (I believe that was one of their main goals), the it has taken them years to get a small one acre park off the ground, and they fail to create a diverse group of events for all ages of people. So my question to you is: Do you think DWSP is a failed organization?

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After a few years of observing and following development in downtown Winston-Salem, I've noticed that DWSP does little to nothing to make downtown a better place. Most downtown organizations try to get retail back to their area, push for environmentally friendly ways of transportation, and have codes for all new buildings that get constructed so that they fit in with the downtown area and are pedestrian friendly. After interviewing a lead member of the DWSP staff, I brought these issues up to him and all I got was either "no comment" or "we're trying." Don't get me wrong, downtown has made great strides in the past few years, but that has been because of the City of W-S creating the Restaurant Loan program and a renewed interest in downtown living. In my eyes, DWSP is nothing but a spokesperson for downtown and an event organizer. No chain/national retail has been constructed (I believe that was one of their main goals), the it has taken them years to get a small one acre park off the ground, and they fail to create a diverse group of events for all ages of people. So my question to you is: Do you think DWSP is a failed organization?

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No, I don't think their a failed organization. I am thankful for what they have achieved thus far. Knowing what I know about Winston-Salem, there has been too many old farts in charge of running the city for far to long, and it has been a slow process to change the mindset of those with the power. In my opinion they need to stay at the country club and turn the DWSP over to those who know how to get the job done. DWSP needs to make it a goal to get affordable downtown living for the younger generation, those who will bring the life to downtown and stop enforcing such rules like no loud music after 10:00 o'clock. DWSP also needs to bring some major retail downtown. Restaurants are doing great, now lets work on getting some nice clubs, dance clubs, diversity, retail downtown. None of us want downtown to be another Buena Vista neighborhood. Lets make downtown a unique place for all, not just one for the wealthy. I currently have a contract on a loft downtown that is in the process of being renovated so I feel that I have already invested a lot in downtown and I don't want to see it fail. I think Greensboro has invested too much in bars and clubs, and their downtown really only thrives on the weekends at night. Winston need to work on having a balance of restaurants, retail, clubs, bars, residential. Something that will draw people 24 hours 7 days a week. It's not going to happen overnight, but hopefully over the next few years well see more major things happen downtown.

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I think bringing heavy retail in any NC downtown city is a difficult task. Triadguy, I do disagree that Greensboro has invested too much into bars and nightclubs. Actually I wish downtown had more of them. I would love for Greensboro to have the most vibrant nightlife in the Carolinas. But Greensboro's version of DWSP, which DGI has invested heavily in attracting residential and has even received a national award in New York City for those efforts. Greensboro has a number attractions that bring people downtown during the day, museums, theaters, center-city park, weekly downtown events throughout downtown, First Horizon Park, ect. So its not fair to say that Greensboro's downtown is only thrives when people go to the clubs at night. But back on the subject at hand. I dont think DWSP is a failed organization. There are alot of things going on in downtown Winston-Salem. It will take time for all of NC's big downtowns to attract heavy retail though. the downtowns just dont have the residential mass yet. Look at all the residential units in uptown Charlotte and they are just begining to get some big chain retail downtown.

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I think bringing heavy retail in any NC downtown city is a difficult task. Triadguy, I do disagree that Greensboro has invested too much into bars and nightclubs. Actually I wish downtown had more of them. I would love for Greensboro to have the most vibrant nightlife in the Carolinas. But Greensboro's version of DWSP, which DGI has invested heavily in attracting residential and has even received a national award in New York City for those efforts. Greensboro has a number attractions that bring people downtown during the day, museums, theaters, center-city park, weekly downtown events throughout downtown, First Horizon Park, ect. So its not fair to say that Greensboro's downtown is only thrives when people go to the clubs at night. But back on the subject at hand. I dont think DWSP is a failed organization. There are alot of things going on in downtown Winston-Salem. It will take time for all of NC's big downtowns to attract heavy retail though. the downtowns just dont have the residential mass yet. Look at all the residential units in uptown Charlotte and they are just begining to get some big chain retail downtown.

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I couldn't disagree more with the premise of this thread. National retail is not a success sign; indeed, I consider it a failure.

DWSP's role is not always to be out in front making announcements. A lot of what they do is behind-the-scenes stuff. Chrome hubcaps on a Ford Mustang are shiny and pretty, but it's the oil in the gears and engine that keeps the car moving forward. The Civic Plaza program had a pretty big stall-out a few years back, and now we have one park vista coming up with a decent civic space plan next to it. Getting a one acre park in a city center done right is not easy. It's actually tremendously difficult. DWSP had a lot to do with this. While the Krispy Kreme/IMAX thing went under, we now have West End Village. DWSP helped make this happen as well.

Look around the W-S downtown. Condos are going up all over, in both new and rehabbed buildings. Ever hear the phrase, "retail follows rooftops?" Well, in downtown, it's going to be retail follows condos. Just because you don't see DWSP's name everywhere doesn't mean they are not quietly getting things done.

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I think the simple fact that we're even mentioning revitalization in Winston-Salem has to be some indicator of the organization's success. In fact i'd say early on there was something of a push to pursue some major chains around the late 90's with Elkington and there had been talk of a department store in the area around 1997, with little to show for it, don't forget the aggressive pursuit of a Mast General store downtown. As it stands Winston-Salem still doesn't seem to have the critical mass of people to support a significant retail component, until the residential sector is shored up a little bit more it may be a little while before some significant retail comes on to the scene.

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Triadguy, I do disagree that Greensboro has invested too much into bars and nightclubs. Actually I wish downtown had more of them. I would love for Greensboro to have the most vibrant nightlife in the Carolinas.

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I couldn't disagree more with the premise of this thread. National retail is not a success sign; indeed, I consider it a failure.

DWSP's role is not always to be out in front making announcements. A lot of what they do is behind-the-scenes stuff. Chrome hubcaps on a Ford Mustang are shiny and pretty, but it's the oil in the gears and engine that keeps the car moving forward. The Civic Plaza program had a pretty big stall-out a few years back, and now we have one park vista coming up with a decent civic space plan next to it. Getting a one acre park in a city center done right is not easy. It's actually tremendously difficult. DWSP had a lot to do with this. While the Krispy Kreme/IMAX thing went under, we now have West End Village. DWSP helped make this happen as well.

Look around the W-S downtown. Condos are going up all over, in both new and rehabbed buildings. Ever hear the phrase, "retail follows rooftops?" Well, in downtown, it's going to be retail follows condos. Just because you don't see DWSP's name everywhere doesn't mean they are not quietly getting things done.

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