Sarah Kate Purnell
GREENSBORO- On April 4, the City Council met in the City Hall Council Chamber to discuss Community Sustainability Council updates from the Greensboro United Soccer Association Bryan Park Soccer Complex Expansion Project, as well as time allotted to public comments.
The meeting began with a passing vote in recognition of World Autism Awareness day taking place on April 2. Additionally, the council passed the recognition of April 9-15 being National Library Week. There were many speakers there to support the Greensboro Public Library, as well.
The Greensboro Public Library hopes that National Library Week will further influence members of the community to visit and explore the local library. Their mission states, “Libraries transform lives”.
“We ask that you take next week as an opportunity to come in and let us transform yours.” Brigitte Blanton Greensboro Public Library Director stated.
Next, the Community Sustainability Council (CSC) reported their accomplishments and goals.
“Sustainability is responsibility for now and for the future.” CSC Vice-Chair Faun Finley said.
According to the CSC, by 2050 the world population is intended to rise to an estimated 10 billion people. With this 70 percent increase, they posed questions such as: how will we handle waste, increase in energy, and increase in demand for food and jobs?
The CSC has accomplished reducing and recycling in installing water bottle filling stations, lead an informative activity about recycling with children at City Earth Day celebrations, and created better communication within Greensboro officials and CSC.
Additionally, the CSC hopes to increase recycling within the community, create a Sustainability Awards and Recognition Program, and continue to increase their communication.
The public comments section during the council meeting was largely focused around the ongoing case of Jose Charles.
Charles, 15 at the time of his arrest, was attacked at Greensboro’s Fun Fourth Festival on July 4. Charles’s mother says when she returned from the bathroom, the police were holding her son by the neck. Charles is charged with assault on an officer and faces the possibility of a sentence in training school.
Charles’s mother, Tamara Figueroa, is requesting the police body camera tapes go public, and so did the many speakers of the floor. The speakers additionally stated a petition that was signed for Charles with, so far, 523 signatures, surpassing their original goal of 50.
The speakers requested that the council members use their power in order to halt the trials and sentencing, until the tapes were released. However, the District Attorney explained that the council can review the case, but cannot control prosecution.
Additionally, the case for the council to view the body camera footage is scheduled for April 17. Should the case be resolved prior to the council’s viewing, the council still asks to see the footage, as Councilwoman Hightower and Johnson stated.
Also discussed by the City Council was the decision to invest $2 million with the Greensboro United Soccer Association (GUSA) in order to build two more fields at Bryan Park, raising the number of total fields to 20.
With this GUSA stated their ability to host more tournaments in Greensboro, bringing the city an estimated $18 million per year. Moving this project to higher priority, it could result in a possible tax increase.
“Sometimes you have to take a little bit of a risk,” Mayor Nancy Vaughan stated on the debate.
Councilwoman Hightower and Councilman Justin Outling inquired regarding the system which propels projects to a higher priority within the council.
“It’s an execute on a person’s vision, but not nearly our communities vision.” Councilman Outling stated in expressing interest for other projects’ priority.
The investment of $2 million for GUSA Bryan Park Soccer Complex Expansion Project passed in the council 6 to 3.
The next city council meeting will be on April 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chamber , and will be open to the public.