The city of Greensboro has been making a tremendous effort to improve the overall development of downtown Greensboro and its surrounding historical areas.
One area that holds great significance within Greensboro’s history is the College Hill neighborhood, which is located between UNCG’s campus and downtown Greensboro.
Aug. 1 was the launch date for a new project, called, College Hill For Everyone, which is led by the College Hill Neighborhood Association in conjunction with National Night Out, as well as City of Greensboro and Team Better Block.
The event aimed to bring members of the College Hill neighborhood and surrounding communities together in an effort to connect the community and raise awareness about a variety of topics.
One of the topics that concerned Jeff Sovich, Greensboro’s Neighborhood Planning Coordinator, is that of general safety within the neighborhood.
“I’ve worked with the College Hill neighborhood for a few years and helped them develop their neighborhood plan. They’ve been wanting to improve traffic safety and to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians.”
The College Hill neighborhood has been working with the Sovich and his team to use a part of the neighborhoods tax revenue to sponsor programs that will improve these issues.
“They came up with the idea of a traffic calming project,” said Sovich.
College Hill For Everyone achieved this by blocking off an area of Mendenhall Street, redirecting traffic around the event. This then, allowed for several booths and tables to be set up for people to come and check out. In this area, there was free pizza and drinks, Lime Bike demos, street murals, a canopy made from a boat and an environmental awareness classroom on wheels, called the “ECO Bus,” which was surrounded by children who wanted to learn about nature.
There was also a table representing the City of Greensboro’s Water Resource Department that was there to discuss an issue that is relevant city wide, but is especially pertinent to its historical communities; and no, it’s not about the recent Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, otherwise known as PFOS, scare.
Wendy Messer, the representative at the table, displayed the detailed charts of Greensboro’s water pipes which were all color coordinated based on their age.
Messer explained that,“Some of the pipes in the college hill area are over one hundred years old, and are made from clay. Sometimes the clay begins to clump and clog the water lines. We are cleaning them and lining them with Epoxy, to avoid this from happening in the future.”
Beside her colorful charts, there were two pieces of pipe to show the difference between the dilapidating clay pipes and its new epoxy-coated cousin.
“It’s just a restoration of the original pipes to preserve the city’s history,” said Messer.
Restoration and preservation of history are very important to many of the board members that are active in the College Hill Area.
Arlen Nicholls, Board Member of the College Hill Neighborhood Association, emphasized the idea of keeping the neighborhoods’ “historic nature.”
“It’s the oldest neighborhood in Greensboro. In the 1970’s the city fell into disrepair until people started buying and restoring the properties,” said Nicholls.
Arlen then flagged down Brian and Amy Solo, newcomers to the College Hill neighborhood, who recently purchased the Bumpas Troy Inn last November, and turned it into a single family home.
Solo, who is also the Executive Director of Operation at XPO Logistics, was quick to point out that the Bumpas Troy House was built in 1847, and that much of its history was worth preserving.
“There’s so much to learn about the neighborhood and the houses. Ours was originally built by an abolitionist so there’s all sorts of hiding holes in the house. There’s not a lot of documentation for the neighborhood so there’s no telling what was really going on,” said Solo.
Additionally, Mrs. Solo added that she was interested in preserving the home’s history of anti-racism through their historical purchase, and felt as though they were, “keeping those ideas alive with the restoration of its beginnings.”
If you would like to learn more about College Hill For Everyone and stay updated on future events, visit College Hill’s official website here for more information.