At a Thursday, Aug. 15 work session of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) President Zack Matheny asked the commissioners for $50,000 in county funding to help pay for a new “Strategic Action Plan” – and before doing so, Matheny spoke in an excited way about everything that is happening in downtown Greensboro right now, and he also spoke with great optimism on the future of downtown Greensboro.
Matheny said that, given the resurgence of growth in downtown Greensboro and the major additions to the property tax base in recent years, it makes solid economic sense for Guilford County to support the continued development of downtown Greensboro.
“It’s significant and it will pay for itself,” Matheny told the Board of Commissioners when he met with them on Thursday afternoon in the Blue Room of the Old Guilford County Court House.
The DGI president spoke on the success in recent years of a downtown branding effort, the streetscape plan, the greenway funding efforts, and talked about a host of major residential and business construction projects by local developers that have been completed recently or will be soon. He also pointed to projects such as Centric Brands, a New York-based clothing company that announced in May that it’s bringing over 200 new jobs to the downtown.
Matheny said that now an important move comes down to pulling everything together and creating strategic action plan for the future. The projected cost of that strategic plan is $200,000 and Matheny told the board that the rest of the money is coming from the City of Greensboro, which has already approved $50,000 for the effort, as well as from area foundations, which have also made financial commitments.
Matheny told the board that he works with the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, state economic development officials, local developers and others to continue promoting downtown and to do things like recruit new restaurants and entertainment venues.
Commissioner Jeff Phillips praised Matheny’s job so far regarding downtown Greensboro but said he wanted to hear more in the coming weeks on the specifics as to how the county’s $50,000 would be spent.
The commissioners are expected to make a decision on the matter at a meeting next month. DGI hopes to have a strategic plan in place by late February or early March of 2020.
“I don’t want a plan that just sits on a desk,” Matheny said.
“These investments that are coming in are significant for growing your tax base,” he told the commissioners, adding that, if the county, DGI and others come together in a big way, the downtown tax base can increase “ten-fold” in the future.
“Our board hopes, and the city and the foundations hope you will partner with us,” Matheny told the board.
Commissioner Kay Cashion who took extensive notes during Matheny’s presentation, had questions about the completion dates of the greenway and of some other projects going on downtown, but her comments were very positive.
“It’s exciting to see things happening,” Cashion said,