The Greensboro City Council met on Tuesday February 21 to discuss rezoning, the Golden LEAF Foundation, and contracts for Smith-Rowe.
An 8 to 0 vote passed on pulling out of the rezoning project of 1906 New Garden Road, an area that originally had been proposed to be a multi-use development site. The proposal was withdrawn after protests about disruption from the residents in the area.
The proposed funding by the Golden LEAF foundation was approved by a 7 to 0 vote that will grant $7 million to help with the Greensboro sewer extension project. The Greensboro-Randolph Megasite foundation is in charge of the extension that will install new water and sewer pipelines along the roadways.
$1,700,188.10 was granted to Smith-Rowe with another clean sweep vote from the district members to make improvements to the stormwater system and waterline.
Three community speakers also took to the floor to express various concerns to the council.
Sarah Ladd voiced her opinion on the role of city police officers regarding immigrants, specifically those who are undocumented, living in Greensboro and the recent change of policy on removal.
Secretary John Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security has drafted new guidelines that can result in dramatic increases in the deportation of undocumented immigrants. At present, deportations for undocumented immigrants only results if found guilty of a major crime, but the Kelly memo is pushing deportation for minor crimes such as traffic violations or shoplifting.
“Ideally all residents of our city view the Greensboro Police as helpers that can be trusted to protect us…immigrants are our neighbors,” said Ladd.
Patricia Gusweiler voiced similar concerns on the issue of deportation. She shared a personal story about her great uncle’s immigration to the United States. As a German living in the United States in the 1930s, he was considered an “enemy alien” and was prohibited from traveling more than 50 miles from home.
“When I hear the stories of current refugee and immigrant families, I think of my great uncle Irvin and his descendants,” said Gusweiler. “The current immigrants are not any different; they are just like generations of Americans whose ancestors fled certain death, injustice, and unbearable living conditions to start anew.”
David Levy, executive director of Affordable Housing Management, was the last community speaker to go to the podium. He provided a progress report on Sumner Ridge, a 72-unit apartment tax credit development. The city gave a $600,000 loan for the project. He reported a 50% completion rate with an estimation around late spring or early summer for the finalization of the apartment complex.
The next Greensboro City Council meeting will be held on March 7, and will be open to the public.