Mixed opinions about Family Dollar coming to Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- After decades of trying to attract development in Greensboro’s Ole Asheboro community, Family Dollar is planning to build a new store on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The building will be a new look for Family Dollar, with a historic feel to it to comply with surrounding preservation standards and fit into the neighborhood.

Greensboro Planning Director Sue Schwartz said, “Commercial development and investment has been a major concern of the neighborhood for several decades now literally since 1979. Having some sort of access to quality goods and services.”

She said in 2014 Family Dollar and its representatives approached the city, interested in buying the land. They've had community meetings and distributed literature to nearby residents.

“We were excited because it was something -a national brand - willing to invest in a neighborhood has been bypassed by so many opportunities. This was very exciting we felt for the neighborhood.”

But Sandra Isley, who lives in neighboring Arlington Park, doesn’t want retail in the area. She and some of her neighbors and her kids were protesting the development Friday afternoon. They’d rather see a community center and more resources to help working families.

“It is something wrong with a community when all we have are cops and Family Dollars in it. We don’t want that. We want to be able to dine in our neighborhood at a high-scale restaurant. We want to be able to support our people,” she said.

Others said they’d rather see high-end development if anything. “A neighborhood quality is known by the stores in their area,” Isley pointed out.

But the fact is, other development hasn’t knocked.

District 2 Councilman Jamal Fox is glad to see the Family Dollar project moving along. He believes it will open the door to bigger development and more options.

The New Zion church under construction just down the street does have plans for a community center, he pointed out, so he feels there will be the best of both worlds. He said the Ole Asheboro Neighborhood Association supports the development, too.

Schwartz promised, “We will keep pursuing and keep pushing on what we can. We think this is a great first step.”

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