With A 90-Day Knowledge Of Greensboro.
On January 15, 2015, I moved to Greensboro and started a new job at Elsewhere as the South Elm Projects Coordinator and Education Curator. In honor of my first 90 days, I wanted to reflect on my experience with a bit of a twist. I asked Cecelia Thompson to give me 5 words to respond to with my 90-day old knowledge of the city. In no particular order:
I get the sense that Greensboro is experiencing a re-genesis. People are staying or they are moving here because they can be somebody and make an impact.
I see young business owners like Zeke Vantreese of Home State Apparel, Kristina Fuller of Crafted, Evan Morrison and William Clayton of Hudson’s Hill, George Scheer of Elsewhere or more seasoned ones like Eric Robert of the Daily Bread Flour Mill or Andy Zimmerman developer of The Forge and HQ Greensboro investing in a city and it makes me want to stay and invest too.
Yes, with a caveat. It’s inclusive if you are an active participant.
I’ve been able integrate into Greensboro with an incredible amount of ease. I’m lucky because I don’t know the political or historical landscape, so I’ve been able to weave in and out of groups without being noticed. Because of that, I’ve been able to find out some of the major players in the city very quickly, in part because Elsewhere has allowed me access to a diversity of people, and in part by participating.
Two very obvious paths for me outside of Elsewhere have been by going to City Council Meetings and using the social media hashtag #SoGSO. If you haven’t been to Council Meeting, go! It’s been a historical immersion and given me a sense of the spirit of the city. Also, using social media has allowed me to see a meta-layer of discussion happening around the city.
There are cities that devour creativity and there are cities that foster it. I see Greensboro as a city of creativity. I say this from my experience living in Austin, Seattle, and Ann Arbor and some of the things I’ve witnessed here, which have to do with it’s history.
At the core, Greensboro is a maker city. From it’s hundred year history of Cone Denim to it’s furniture roots, I can feel that thread carried through the culture of the city. The ‘Artsy’ vibe is definitely here, the question is how do we tap into it and use it to propel our city forward?
There are three major things that are happening right now that I think will significantly shape the city. The Forge/HQ Developments, Union Square and the Greenway. All of those things happening in the South Elm neighborhood in such proximity to one another is a big deal. People need to understand that massive change is happening right now south of the tracks. Massive!
When I hear rooted, I think the emotion that I’ve seen in Greensboro.
I’ve been to City Council Meeting and witnessed the deep-seated historical tensions of the city. In the first few months of being here, I saw heated public comment on Black Lives Matter and the Massacre of 1979. I’ve heard City Council Members scold each other about looking to other cities as a model, but rather being the model that other cities look to. I’ve heard residents proclaim their love for Downtown and their conviction to stay till they die.
It doesn’t matter to me where the emotions have a good or bad connotations. What matters to me is that people care!
I’m enjoying being new to Greensboro for the time being. After 90 days, I understand the landscape a lot better, I can see what’s coming from an urban standpoint which makes me very interested to stay long-term, and I’m beginning to find my role in the community. In the spirit of word association, I want to end this article with a word that I’ve been thinking about for a while — a word that will define my next 90 days — that word is Action!