East side development group eager to launch full-scale Market Street changes

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The group in charge of voter-approved bond money earmarked for improvements along East Market Street have two priorities.

The East Market Development Corporation updated the Greensboro City Council on potential upgrades at its work session Tuesday.

“Right now if you drive around east Greensboro, particularly just down East Market Street, you do not see a consistent design in the buildings,” said Bob Davis, chairman of the corporation.

The group would like to spend money on redeveloping facades of some current businesses to give the stretch a more uniform look.

“Too much standardization does not work well but you do need something that is appealing to the eye,” said Davis. “You don't want to turn traffic away because folks have a negative view or image of something because of the way it looks.”

Davis is talking about attracting new retailers and other businesses to the area. Another priority project would be to make empty or abandoned lots more “shovel ready” for developers.

Some buildings have already been leveled or redeveloped to make room for affordable housing options.

“Now you don't drive by and see this pool hall and people hanging all around and some of the negative images that we had and some of the problems we had with folk congregating in that area,” said Davis. “You see an open area that is open for development.”

Neighborhood residents believe the changes could be a positive step forward for an area that is a hodgepodge of commercial businesses and homes.

“The community is long overdue for something like that I'd be very excited to see it happen,” said Kevin Moragne, who has called Greensboro home his entire life.

“Ultimately, I would just like to see it cleaned up. I think we could use more community centers, some of the things the community really needs,” said Moragne.

The East Market Development Corporation also told the city council it is considering a name change to the East Greensboro Development Corporation.

Davis said the group does not use any of the bond money it has access to for administrative fees.