On Sept. 19 the Greensboro City Council met for its regular hall meeting at the downtown municipal building at 5:30 p.m. The meeting ran for about two hours and covered a variety of topics such as homelessness, DACA and a new parking development by the Grasshoppers baseball field.
As the meeting began, speakers from the floor expressed their concern for people in Greensboro who experience homelessness, in response to Amy Murphy’s op-ed article in the News & Record titled, “Amy Murphy: Homeless services don’t belong downtown.”
Murphy spoke during the meeting explaining that people who experience homelessness have important voices that need to be heard. Murphy went on to describe that when the services for the homeless were placed downtown years ago, downtown had not yet flourished. Now it was time to rethink the location.
Many gathered at the meeting to oppose Murphy’s view. Individuals stated their concern for bringing dignity and humanity to the issue of homelessness, determining the roots of it and rejecting the segregation of those who experience homelessness from downtown.
Individuals in favor of DACA and some that are DACA recipients also spoke in the meeting. They addressed the council to express their concern for safety and need for support from the City Council Board.
The council also passed a resolution to authorize a downtown development project and parking agreement with Downtown Slugger, LLC. This parking development will be located near the Grasshoppers field downtown. Residents of Greensboro will have the opportunity to lease spaces in the deck as well. The council expressed that the development would also serve as a fix to the limited parking downtown.
“It is important for a city council and any governmental body to look to the future, and that includes that we have adequate parking downtown,” Justin Outling, District 3, explained. “One of the most common criticisms or critiques that I hear of our current downtown is that it is difficult to park. We also know that our downtown is rapidly expanding, seeing hundreds of millions of dollars in investment. Building this parking deck, as well as the other parking deck that this city council has decided to build, is a push by the city to get in front of the issue while it still has the ability to do so.”
The council also passed an ordinance amending the FY 2017-2018 General Fund Budget. This motion mended the budget in order to add $490,000 to advance police and fire salaries by October for salary payment. $255,000 of the increase is a reimbursement from FEMA for the past services of the fire departments, while the other $235,000 will be earned back over the upcoming years through salary savings.
The meeting closed with comments from the council members, including a praise of the National Folk Festival that took place downtown through Sept. 8 to Sept.10.
The next city council meeting will be held on Oct. 17 in the Municipal Building at 300 W Washington St at 5:30 p.m.