Greensboro, NC-- A world-class consulting firm gave suggestions for enhancing Greensboro's downtown area in 2002. This summer, the firm visited again, offering more feedback and suggestions.
Cooper Carry, an international design firm visited downtown Greensboro a decade ago. They offered suggestions and ideas to Greensboro city council, which the city accepted as a planning guide. Construction of Center City Park and the Grasshopper's stadium was implemented as a result of the plans suggested from Cooper Carry.
This past June, Action Greensboro invited Cooper Cary representatives back again to evaluate how the downtown area has grown since their last visit.
Overall, the firm's assessment of downtown was positive. Mayor Robbie Perkins told News 2 that the firm saw many improvements from 10 years ago, but also offered more suggestions to keep the momentum moving forward.
A big part of the discussion was building a new performing arts center in the downtown district.
"I think we've got more momentum going in our downtown than ever. I think the discussion with the performing arts center has really taken on a very positive amount of traction. I think that we will build a performing arts center in downtown," said Mayor Perkins.
Other ideas include creating a university village and luring another corporate headquarters to the downtown area.
Smaller suggestions are things like planting more trees, turning alleys into gathering places, and allowing street artists and food carts.
The Cooper Carry assessment has reaffirmed a lot of ideas that have been thrown around in the past and even ignited a further desire to keep the ball rolling.
"It sparked a conversation and I know one of the things that were discussed was the boards in the buildings and boarded up buildings and this is something we had discussed on the city council, but we didn't have as big a sense of urgency that I think we should have had."
Milton Kern, a longtime Greensboro downtown developer agreed with most suggestions offered by the design firm.
Kern believes that Greensboro has improved tremendously in the past ten years, increasing restaurants, offices, and residential buildings, but wants to see Downtown be the most desirable place in the Triad.
"I want everybody in the city of Greensboro from Danville to Burlington to Asheboro to Winston-Salem to say 'wow Greensboro's a really exciting place, let's go over there tonight and go out to eat or see plays'," said Kern.
Mayor Perkins and Milton Kern agree that the time to expand is now so that when the economy bounces back, downtown is ready to reap the benefits.
Mayor Perkins told News 2 that the first project on the list is to eliminate boarded-up windows in any downtown buildings.
WFMY News 2