The sudden closing of North Eugene Street for waterline replacement and streetscaping was so controversial that the Greensboro City Council asked that the street be reopened until accommodations could be made for the businesses in the two-block area.

And the question of why North Eugene was being closed again for waterline replacement, when it was closed in 2017 for waterline replacement, is one even some city councilmembers have been asking.

The main purpose of closing North Eugene Street in 2017 was a stormwater project.  In heavy rains, the water in the 400 block of North Eugene Street was flooding over the curb, across the sidewalk and into the buildings, which have since been demolished.  However, since they were digging the street up for a major stormwater upgrade, the city took the opportunity to replace the water line from Smith Street south to what was the Lindsay Street intersection. Lindsay Street was closed for the Carroll Bellemeade hotel and apartment community project, built by The Carroll Companies, which also own this publication.

The waterline south of the old Lindsay Street intersection to Bellemeade Street was not replaced in 2017 and according, to Water Resources Director Mike Borchers, that waterline dates back to 1929.

Borchers said in an email, “The project currently under construction is the Eugene and Bellemeade streetscape project. Included in the scope of this project is the relocation of the waterline installed in 2017 as well as the portion that dates back to 1929.  The newer waterline is located under the proposed curbline that will include tree wells.  Unfortunately, the tree wells create a conflict with the newer waterline and the only way to address the conflict is to relocate the waterline.”

So, along with the current streetscape project, the waterline from Smith Street to Bellemeade Street will be relocated and replaced.

The $25 million in bonds for downtown streetscape passed in 2016.  Eugene Street was one of the streets that was to be streetscaped with that $25 million, but according to Borchers the waterline put in the ground in 2017 now has to be moved because of the streetscape.

So it appears that in 2017 the city was attempting to be proactive in replacing a portion of a 1929 waterline while Eugene Street was closed for a stormwater project, but wasn’t quite proactive enough and is now relocating the waterline to facilitate the streetscape project.