What would a “State of the City” event be without some humor.

At the 2024 State of the City event last week, each councilmember, by video, highlighted something that the City Council considers a success.

The success that District 2 City Councilmember Goldies Wells talked about was the Downtown Greenway, a project that currently spans the administrations of five mayors and is considered by many to be one of the city’s bigger boondoggles, and by completion it will be in the $50 million range.

Children who were old enough to remember the launch of the Downtown Greenway project in 2001 may, if it is completed on the current schedule, be able to take their own children for a 4-mile walk on the completed 12-foot-wide sidewalk around the downtown.  But considering the many projections of the completion date, that is a big if. However, even in the worst case scenario, they should be able to take their grandchildren for that walk.

Another way to look at it is that someone who entered the military the year the project was announced has been eligible for full retirement benefits for years and is probably well into a second career.

According to Wells, the final mile of the Downtown Greenway is to be completed “next summer.”  But predictions about the completion of the Greenway have basically been “next summer” for at least the last five years.

In 2001, the Downtown Greenway was listed as one of three major projects to bring life back to the downtown area.  The other two projects were Center City Park, which opened in 2006, and the downtown baseball stadium, home to the Greensboro Grasshoppers, which opened in 2005.

From 2001 to 2017, only one mile of the 4-mile Downtown Greenway was completed. Since 2017, an additional two miles have been completed. In February 2022, it was announced that construction on the final mile of the Greenway would begin in April 2022.

It is enlightening to know that the City Council considers it a success worth noting at the 2024 State of the City event that, after 23 years, the city is starting construction on the final mile of a 4-mile long 12-foot-wide sidewalk around the downtown at a cost of more than $10 million a mile.