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ChiefJoJo

Winston-Salem has a lot of potential

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I had the pleasure of taking at trip to downtown Winston-Salem last weekend, and I had a great time. Even growing up in NC, I recently realized that I hadn't actually spent much time walking around in Winton-Salem, so I looked at this as a nice opportunity to explore the inner city. My impressions:

  • loved the arts district around N Trade, from about 4th to 6th St... some cool shops/restaurants up there (6th and Vine, Body & Soul, etc)

  • loved Krankies coffee shop over by the lofts on E 4th St... the east end has a great feel to it near PTRP and the rail line

  • Brookstown Inn is a treasure... you should continue to preserve as much of that great history as possible (it can't be recreated)

  • I enjoyed the strollway... staying at the Brookstown, it was easy to walk up and down the strollway at night to DT shops and restaurants

  • many DT streets are pedestrian friendly, particularly 4th, Trade, etc (do more of that)

  • Foothills Brewery is a great asset too... not every city has a cool brewery like that (IPA is my fav)

  • of course, Old Salem is a great asset as well, and it seems to be in very good shape (had no idea people actually lived there; bakery goods are tasty!)

    Anyway, I'm a big fan of places with a rich urban history (think Richmond) and the Twin City certainly has a lot of that. It reminded me a bit of Durham (the other big NC tobacco town), but with more rolling hills, and with more preserved urban history. I think a lot of folks on this board seem to be focused on new construction and even malls and such, but I would not forget to place a very strong emphasis on what you already have in the urban core, as it is a great asset. Most cities in NC do not have the history that W-S does, so consider it something positive on which to build.

    A short list of what I'd love to see:

  1. a downtown circulator, bus or streetcar that connects the major destinations... streetcar could be catalyst for economic development/tourism (help pay for itself?)

  2. like I said above, continue doing the streetscaping... wide sidewalks, street trees, lighting, etc (4th St). It lends to a nice pedestrian experience; good for tourists.

  3. more historical markers designating local landmarks... there's probably a guided tour, but there could be better signage for the local historic sites on the street

  4. regional rail connecting downtown/PTRP to Kernersville, PTI(?) and Greensboro at Galyon Depot... gas prices, economic vitality, connect to the region, state & east coast (SEHSR), plus I wouldn't have to drive!

  5. again, not to sound like a broken record, but, please preserve what you have. There are a lot of hidden gems downtown, and the potential is limitless... coffee shops, galleries, lofts, live work space, etc.

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I couldn't agree more. As an out of state transplant living & working in the 'Burro, it's seemed like GSO gets much of the attention, but I think from density, to highway access, to grid, to remaining & rehabable old structures, Winston really has a terrific base from which to build. It already "feels" like a downtown, it just needs more residents and small business to really bring it to life.

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Great observations. I really think the Arts District should be expanded and become a springboard for expanded development downtown. The circulator idea is spot on.

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I couldn't agree more. As an out of state transplant living & working in the 'Burro, it's seemed like GSO gets much of the attention, but I think from density, to highway access, to grid, to remaining & rehabable old structures, Winston really has a terrific base from which to build. It already "feels" like a downtown, it just needs more residents and small business to really bring it to life.

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A good analysis, I think with keen observation skills. I agree, and as an absentee native, think you've got it right. I also agree with the comments that the new ballpark on the west and especially the Streuver Brothers PTRP North Section development will be major catalysts. I'm still holding comment on the lagging Southeast Gateway. Thanks for the analysis.

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Im living up in MD now, and the more i visit home, the more i see mid-atlantic/ northern influences in downtown Winston...walkable, a mix of new and old, historic, gritty, a nice skyline and lots of culture. Theres even an abandoned take-out on 7th street. Its easy for one to see thats why downtown is attractive to developers out of Baltimore, Annapolis and Richmond.

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Yeah, I forgot to add more residents living downtown, but I think that will come in time, just like a lot of NC cities. It would probably also help to have some new corporate relocations to downtown for more jobs, but I think the residential will still develop steadily with rising energy prices.

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I think a lot of folks on this board seem to be focused on new construction and even malls and such, but I would not forget to place a very strong emphasis on what you already have in the urban core, as it is a great asset. Most cities in NC do not have the history that W-S does, so consider it something positive on which to build.

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As someone who grew up in Winston-Salem (until coming to NCSU in '95 and staying in Raleigh), I think you're on-target here. Us W-S natives often took the historic core for granted.

Old Salem, for example, is usually just seen as a place that tourists come....many folks born & raised in W-S have still never visited it themselves. (If my family hadn't been Moravian, we'd probably count ourselves in that group, too.)

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