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GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — City of Greensboro staff members are gathering public feedback on the transformation of the East Gate City Boulevard corridor. 

People living and working in the area raised concerns about accessibility and quality of life during a community conversation Thursday night with more than 50 people weighing in. 

Stakeholders like North Carolina A&T State University, Magnolia House and the YMCA previously identified four key themes: connectivity, aesthetics, investment, and identity.  

City Councilwoman Sharon Hightower was part of the conversation and said Friday safety is key to plans to revitalize the corridor from South Elm Street to I-40. 

“My neighbor was actually killed about two months ago walking down to the gas station,” she explained. 

During the meeting on Thursday, participants discussed an oversaturation of fast-food restaurants and limited access to healthy food. 

“I’d love to see more retail coming through here, not big overly fancy big box stores, maybe some type of grocery store because we are in a food desert,” Hightower said. 

She admits attracting businesses might take rebranding of the area. 

“We’re kind of stigmatized, or how we’re visualized sometimes as an area with high crime, that’s dangerous, we want to rebrand these stigmas to make it a lot more positive,” a speaker said Thursday. 

The project has been in the works for years, but Hightower wants to see responsible development and more affordable housing soon. 

City officials say $70 million in public investment is coming with the Windsor-Chavis Project, and they need a plan. 

“With this amount of public investment coming, we want to make sure holistically, outside that project we have a game plan and a roadmap for the future,” said Hart Crane, a planner with the city. 

This is the city’s timeline for a plan:  

·  Winter 2021 – First Round of Public Engagement / Multimedia / Publicity / Organize and Analyze the Qualitative Feedback   

·  Spring 2022 – Second Round of Public Engagement / Questions and Direction Based on Feedback from First Round of Public Engagement   

·  Summer 2022 – Develop the Plan / Continue Community Conversation / Draft Plan Online for Comment   

·  Fall/Winter 2022 – Finalize Document / Council Adoption / Celebrate!