GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Two community advocates are uniting a handful of southern Greensboro neighborhoods with one thing in common: they’ve been left behind because of their race.
“What we know about communities that were red lined is that they were deemed hazardous: you don’t develop here. You don’t build infrastructure here. You don’t give loans, so people weren’t able to make those kind of home improvements,” said Deena Hayes-Greene, a community advocate.
She’s talking about the area extending from Arlington Park up to Gorrell Street.
Hayes-Greene believes these communities fell victim to poverty and crime because they were excluded from growth through racist policies decades ago.
She hopes a municipal service district will help bring things back.
“If I have to pay $40 more in taxes but public safety is going to be enhanced, the value of my home is going to be more, I can leverage that for opportunities for my children and grandchildren,” Hayes-Greene said.
A municipal service district covers a defined area of neighborhoods. People living in the area pay an added tax.
That money goes to community leaders to pay for beautification, infrastructure improvements and other repairs to the area they call home.
“There’s a narrative out there that poor people for some reason don’t care about their communities, and the fact is what poor people lack are the resources to be able to transform their communities in the way other communities do,” said Monica Walker, who is working with Hayes-Greene on the project.
There are two other service areas in the city in Dunleath and College Hill.
If more than half of the hundreds of people living from Arlington Park to Gorrell Street choose to form their own district, they’ll be named Windsor Heights and be the first mainly Black district to form.
It’s a historic decision that could also cut down on crime, according to Greensboro City Council member Goldie Wells.
“We know that folk who live in an area know that environment, and they know about the culture of the area, therefore, they could address it with more knowledge rather than someone just coming in from the outside,” Wells said.
Project leaders are working with city staff to define the boundary and get people educated.
“The elevation of this and being able to…elevate this community. It’s good for all of Greensboro,” Walker said.
Leaders tell FOX8 that the process to form the group needs neighborhood approval and could take six months to one year to get started.