Guest Column: Direct attention, more resources to core city

Dec. 03, 2012 @ 09:22 AM

One can’t help but be struck by the sharp contrast in the last several days regarding plans for growth in High Point and Greensboro.
The Enterprise reported Nov. 20 that High Point City Council voted 7-2 to give $13 million to supplement a Greensboro businessman turned developer for upgrades surrounding a proposed industrial park on farmland located 15 miles outside of High Point’s core city area.
The News & Record reported on Nov. 28 that multiple participants in Greensboro, including Greensboro’s City Council, after studying the success of other cities and consulting with architects and economic developers, were considering a $60 million investment in downtown Greensboro to build a new performing arts center. And another $18 million investment is being planned for a new University Center in which Cone Medical and area universities will move some of their facilities into the downtown area.
High Point’s inner city property values are declining while High Point’s inner city property taxes [and utilities] are increasing.  In contrast, Greensboro’s inner city property values are increasing [one estimate as much as 20 percent], while Greensboro city property taxes remain lower than those of High Point.
Whether or not you believe the new studies that show sprawl costs more in government services than received in new tax revenues, especially over time as maintenance kicks in, falling property values and rising property taxes in High Point’s inner city is a prescription for continuing core city decline.
And this should be of concern for all of us living in High Point, whether or not we live in the core city area.  For when the core of a city declines, so does its image to itself and to the world, which in turn impacts negatively everyone living in that city.
An Enterprise editorial on Nov. 25 questioned the wisdom of High Point’s outgoing City Council to offer $13 million to supplement a Greensboro developer for development in a county location, and emphasized that city taxpayers will be footing that bill.
The editorial went on to ask the new incoming City Council to “review this proposal closely in light of needs in existing areas of High Point” that have been identified and approved by High Point citizens in the 2006 Community Vision Growth Statement and the Core City Plan of 2007.
In our opinion, that’s good advice.

Dorothy Darr has lived in the core city more than 30 years and is Co-Chair of the Southwest Renewal Foundation of High Point which seeks revitalization of the Southwest quadrant of inner city High Point.