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Tensions remain high between City of High Point, City Project

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Tensions were still running high between High Point City Council members and the non-profit working on revitalization.

At an update with Council Thursday morning, Mayor Bernita Sims said she is just as passionate as the people working with The City Project. But Council voted earlier this month to refocus funding and move around The City Project's executive director position, paid by the city.

The City Project is a non-profit working to implement the Core City Plan for revitalization first introduced in 2007. Council wants the Executive Director job, currently filled by Wendy Fuscoe, to move into City Hall and work on city-wide projects, not just those in the Uptowne district.

Several Council members say they've gotten complaints The City Project focuses too much time and money on Uptowne. They also don't believe it's appropriate for the city to pay a full-time position on a non-profit staff.

The City Project Chairman Richard Wood argued that's what they were instructed to do years ago. He understood the plan was to start with the "low hanging fruit" of Uptowne, where studies showed they'd get a high return on investment. He feels it is appropriate for the city to pay Fuscoe's salary.

Wood said Ignite High Point plans involve fourteen major projects to reinvent Uptowne and other parts of the city.

"We've got to make something happen, this town is dying," Wood insisted to Council Thursday.

The City Project hoped, for example, to create a public park area at the library, make the district more walkable with a "road diet" and support pop-up markets throughout town.

Wood is concerned changes could put the brakes on their efforts.

Sims said, "There's another whole group of folks not in this room that are equally as passionate about where they live and the things they think they need for quality of life."

High Point resident and business owner Ray Soltis told FOX8, "My property value and everybody's property value in High Point is going down, we're losing money, our city is slowing dying."

He believes it's best to follow the direction of Ignite High Point's research. "The biggest bang for the buck of all the studies they've done is the Uptowne project. Now we can quivel about $130,000 for an employee staff position, and all the nickels and dimes," he said. "But if there's other opportunities that they can invest money in High Point and get us a bigger bang for the buck than Uptowne, let us know.

Sims and other council members said revitalization will take more time and more money.

Wood added, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

Councilman Jay Wagner hopes this disagreement will not halt progress. "I think this has really, really damaged the relationships that are gonna be necessary to get this done," he said.

Council mentioned the idea of a bond referendum to help funding.

Councilwoman Becky Smothers said the City can do its part to make revitalization happen, but pointed out that attracting private investment is the biggest challenge.



    Those Progressive Black Dems Every city lead or controlled through city councils !! Millions keep disappearing and the voters do not care !! Greensboro, Winston,and even flakeyase High Point !! Nothing but crooks !!

  • Phil

    Let’s all take a step back and take a deep breath without conflict. I have been a volunteer for this community for almost 20 years. We have great people in this community to make this happen. Let’s be responsible, diligent and creative with our community project. Use the intellectual giftness of the cities leadership and implement the plan in
    a phase type system that won’t put the burden on the cities financial system, but will involve business talents to
    help in raising sources of income. Let’s use High Point’s best asset; people.

    • Bart

      Started to read the 278 page plan. Didn’t get through it or the amendments before I decided High Point would be crossed off my list of possibles when I move. Had seen enough by page 33 to decide.

      Shared driveways? An attitude that reeks of only permitting rehabilitation of the old and not allowing modernization of neighborhoods? Against off-street parking (got to have the parking meter revenue)? No front-facing driveways in certain areas?

      Short bus stupid with no appreciation of what attracts people and you don’t attract business without the people.

      Control freaks with no respect for private property owner decisions.

      Not seeing any intellectual giftness.

  • Bart

    Road diet? Planning to reduce lanes or cut roadways to homes or businesses is stupid. Main St is mostly walkable from Eastchester/Westchester to Archdale. Plug sidewalks into the missing sections. Both sides.

    Maybe even get especially bold, brave, and intelligent and fatten roads to include bike lanes. Skeet Club, Johnson St, Main St, 68, and other heavily traveled routes would be excellent places to start.

    Make it easier for people to get around town via multiple modes and the city will become immensely more attractive. I have no doubt there are people that choose where they live based on how well they are able to combine physical fitness/activity with their work commute. It is one of the factors I am using to decide where I will be moving.

    Doing a round trip on the trail between Greensboro Rd and Blain St is a decent walk but has limited hours. For those that like to walk and run before or after work it sure would be nice to have neighborhoods full of sidewalks – especially in the winter. Large areas of the city have no sidewalks and are evidence of city planning by the uncaring and mentally deficient.

    If you want people or businesses somewhere, you have to accomodate their transportation needs and desires.

  • JB

    Quibble about $130,000 for a position for this job? Am I understanding this correctly? Why not lower the salary and you might get a more positive response. We need to revitalize for sure but can we not compromise on the terms?

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