Our View: Work past Washington Street setback

Jan. 08, 2013 @ 01:09 AM

Let’s hope this is just a temporary setback for visions of Washington Street revitalization. And for Phyllis Bridges, too.
Bridges announced last week that she will close her art studio facility that she has operated at 710 Washington Street for more than four years. The studio, Yalik’s Modern Art, sells contemporary art with a focus on African-American art. It also has held a number of art exhibitions featuring local artists or topics. Bridges said she will continue to operate Yalik’s Modern Art as an Internet business, emphasizing that only the studio is closing.
Named after Bridges’ grandson, Yalik’s was a pioneer for business redevelopment on Washington Street. It opened in October 2008 and was the first new business to open there after an extensive revitalization and redevelopment plan for the area was adopted by High Point City Council. That plan was part of the Core City program, which is known now as the City Project. And the opening of Yalik’s was hoped to be the forerunner of many good things to come on Washington Street.
So far, however, the hopes of many who followed development of the Washington Street revitalization plan have not been realized. That’s mainly because so much of the area’s renewal will depend heavily on private investments and ventures such as Yalik’s. The national economic climate hasn’t been kind to revitalization plans and ideas, either.
But there still is hope for the rebirth of Washington Street, which once was the center of High Point’s black business community. Last fall, Jackie’s Place, a jazz music club opened on Washington Street near its intersection with N. Centennial Street. And just recently, the Enterprise reported that owners of the old Kilby Hotel are planning to begin soon a revitalization project for that historic property. Additionally, officials at the historic First Baptist Church reported that plans are in the works there to correct faults in that historic church’s sanctuary.
The vision still is there. The community simply needs to remain focused on it.