Last week there was a fire in the Miller Furniture Building at 314 S. Elm St.
Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) President Zack Matheny took the opportunity to point out that something needs to be done about the 300 block of South Elm.
Matheny in an email noted that fortunately no one was injured in the fire, but that the fire “essentially shut the South part of downtown down. This is extremely difficult for the restaurants, especially the newly opened ‘Cille & ‘Scoe. In addition, the expense to the City is very costly as there were 8 trucks and many personnel.”
Matheny added, “Simply put, this block has to improve. This is not fair to the neighbors, to the city and much more.”
This isn’t the first time Matheny has expressed concerns about this particular block in downtown Greensboro. In May 2021, Matheny sent an email to the property and business owners on the 300 block of South Elm that stated, “I write you today in an attempt to have a communicative and collaborative approach to this very important block in the heart of the center city. Our office receives more calls about this block, in particular, the empty storefronts, graffiti, etc. than any other section in downtown.”
In August 2021, after a fire on that block, Matheny sent out another email to the property and business owners in the 300 block of South Elm. Matheny notes that he had not received much response to his email in May asking for solutions, but “we have received a number of calls and concerns regarding safety, folks sleeping in alcoves, etc. Of course, the majority of this is around empty buildings. Empty buildings are a huge deterrent to other property and business owners.”
In that email Matheny suggests increased fire, building and health inspections for the vacant buildings.
Matheny ends that email stating, “We want to work with the City in moving forward in making this block a crown jewel, not what it has been the last 10 years.”
The fix is a viable environment for a profitable business. I remember police on bicycles downtown.
Agreed. The 300 Block of S Elm is a disgrace. I am one of the owners of the building at 345 S Elm Street (Natty Greene’s) Its been almost 20 years since we renovated that property, We have invested significant money in our property over the years only to watch several others in our block fall in to further disrepair, Frankly, those properties are a danger to the adjacent properties. More thorough and frequent building inspections should take place with these vacant properties to insure safety to the public. Take care of your properties or sell them to someone that will!
The city of Greensboro passed a good repair ordinance in 2019. Major violations include: “Damage by fire, wind, floods or other causes that render the building unsafe and dilapidation, decay, unsanitary conditions, vermin or rat infestation, filth or contamination, or disrepair which is dangerous to the health, safety or welfare of the occupants or other people.” With two fires in under a year on that block I think it’s fair to question whether or not it is being enforced?
Fair question is right. You can make all the feel-good laws you want, but they are worthless unless they are enforced. It’s like putting something in your computer, pressing the enter button, and expect something to be done.
With the police and sheriff depts understaffed & underpaid, who is gonna do it? Perhaps some overpaid power-mad minions gleefully running amuck with citation books?
Improve the free parking will help bring people to the 300 block..Was there Sat evening and my car along with several others were towed..Everyone thought it was free on weekends, it was after 6pm..Cost me $300, cash only, to get my car from Gotcha..This was money that could have gone to restaurants downtown..