Stimulus Watch Durham NC-

We could use your support on the 5 neighborhood streetscape project coming through the pike. 

Please go out to  www.stimuluswatch.org/project/by_state.

Click on North Carolina, click on Durham, click on Neighborhood Commercial Streetscape, vote YES.

Feel free to share this email link.

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In the News – Golden Belt area ‘looks alive again’

Golden Belt area ‘looks alive again’

Separate projects put reformation on the horizon

Beverly Craig used to feel uncomfortable leaving her East Durham home to go to work, not knowing what she might find when she got back. “It was kind of a crime-ridden area,” she said. It’s better now.

From the next block, DeDreana Freeman said neighbors used to avoid going out on the streets. “Now, if you come through the neighborhood you can see kids out playing and neighbors out talking.”

Historically, that neighborhood has been called “Edgemont.” It developed in the early 1900s to serve employees at the Golden Belt and Durham Hosiery cotton mills. Now, it’s known as “Golden Belt” — sharing a name with the former factory remodeled last year into a complex of apartments, shops, offices and artists’ studios, and sharing a bit in the uplift:

* Through its subsidiary Edgemont Neighborhood LLC, Golden Belt factory redeveloper Scientific Properties has bought four derelict houses in the neighborhood and undertaken their rehabilitation.

* Separately, Habitat for Humanity has built or renovated nine Golden Belt houses and sold them to resident owners in the past year.

* Urban InSite, a Durham consulting firm, has, on its own, prepared a Golden Belt Neighborhood Revitalization Proposal and presented it to the city community development department.

“I see a lot of positive effect” from that outside interest, said Craig, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1997. “Before, it was almost like the neighborhood was forgotten. “It looks alive again.”

Gary Kueber of Scientific Properties said, “We’ve got a neighborhood, or remnants of a neighborhood, that are starting to be pieced back together.” The neighborhood covers roughly 27 acres, from Elizabeth Street east across Alston Avenue to Holman, and from East Main Street north to Taylor Street. Eastway Elementary school is off its northeast corner; the Golden Belt complex at its western edge. The Golden Belt Manufacturing Co. ceased operation in 1996, removing one of the last economic drivers from an area already saddled with a rough image and a history of poverty dating to the 1940s. The Durham Housing Authority owned the old factory for a few years, did little with it, and sold it to Scientific Properties in 2006. Scientific Properties had a hip, green renovation in mind, but that image clashed with the vacant lots and boarded-over houses next door. So, the company expanded across the street to join the neighborhood rehab effort. “Not everyone who’s interested in living in an urban neighborhood like this is going to live in an apartment” like those in the remodeled factory, Kueber said. “Some people want or need homes.”

Christine Westfall, who prepared the Revitalization Proposal with her Urban InSite partner, Barbara Beechwood, said the Golden Belt neighborhood needs more homeowners. At the time the proposal was done in 2008, 35 percent of the area’s lots were vacant and owner occupation in the houses was only 26 percent — indicating, the proposal says, “a neighborhood with little stability.” Housing is “one of our critical issues in Durham,” said Westfall, who has lived for 10 years in central Durham. She got interested in the region east of downtown when friends began buying houses there, and saw it as an area of “great properties, but not a strong neighborhood.” Aware of Scientific Properties’ project, Westfall and Beechwood researched the neighborhood and wrote their proposal “to encourage Scientific Properties and the city to plan and invest.” She was quick to say she didn’t mean “gentrification” — rather, “It’s time to start encouraging income diversity.”

According to Durham County records, of the 16 residential sales in the neighborhood in the past two years, prices have ranged from $22,000 (a Scientific Properties buy) to $117,000 (three Habitat sales).

Larry Jarvis of the city’s community development office presented Urban InSite’s proposal to the city council in December, but “as far as moving the study … to the next level, we have nothing in motion right now.” The city is directing some money into the area, such as $40,000 of federal community development funding toward Scientific Properties’ purchase of a burned-out house on Morning Glory Avenue. Several similar transactions are in the works to assist Scientific Properties and Habitat, Jarvis said, but in the current economic climate, “It’s slow.”

Back in the neighborhood, Freeman and her husband, Antoine, have organized a Golden Belt Neighborhood Association. It has “about 15 active [members] and about 30 that I keep up with,” she said. It meets once a month and maintains a Web site (goldenbelthistoricdistrict.wordpress.com) to share information on concerns like the Alston Avenue widening, police activity and the Neighborhood Watch. “We reach out as we see new people” moving in, including those taking residence at the Golden Belt complex, Freeman said. The Freemans bought their home in 2007. “We were looking for a place we could afford and have an inner-city feel, be part of downtown,” she said. “I didn’t expect it to work out as well as it has, how neighbors have come together.” Activity in and around Golden Belt is getting attention, she said. “We always have these different people stopping by, they have no clue what’s going on,” Freeman said. “They’re like, ‘Wow!’ It makes you feel good, have pride in the neighborhood.”

jim.wise@newsobserver.com or 932-2004

Durham Station Grand Opening Ceremony

Durham Station Grand Opening Ceremony February 23

Durham Station Grand Opening and Dedication Ceremony

City of Durham When: Monday, February 23, 2009, at 11 a.m. 

 515 West Pettigrew Street Durham, N.C. 27701

 

* Parking for the ceremony is available at the North Deck Parking Garage, located at the corner of Carr and Pettigrew Streets. Fast Facts * City of Durham officials will celebrate another significant downtown milestone with the grand opening and dedication ceremony for the Durham Station Transportation Center, downtown’s new transportation hub and home of local, regional and intercity bus service as well as taxi service. * The $17.5 million station, built where the old Heart of Durham Hotel once stood, provides multiple alternatives to automobile traffic, an essential component needed to support more densely populated urban areas. The project was made possible by a combination of city, state, and federal funding. * The two-story, 10,300 square-foot building boasts 20 canopied bus bays, six parking spaces for taxicabs, disability parking, and short-term parking as well as a drop-off location for “kiss and ride.” * At least 4.5 million of DATA’s 5 million annual passengers will travel through the new Durham Station. * Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell and City Manager Thomas Bonfield will join Congressman David Price, as well as members of the Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA) Board of Trustees, North Carolina Department of Transportation, The Freelon Group, and Balfour Beatty Construction to take part in the dedication ceremony. Other notable project stakeholders include the Federal Transit Administration, Triangle Transit, Greyhound Lines, Inc., and local taxicab operators. * Local news media and the public are invited to the ceremony. A mult box will be provided on site for media use.

Durham Convention Center Renaming Ceremony Feb. 17

Durham Convention Center Renaming Ceremony

Durham Convention Center Authority, City of Durham,
and Durham County Government

Tuesday, February 17, 2009, at 12:10 p.m.

Durham Convention Center (formerly Durham Civic
Center) 201 Foster Street Durham, N.C. 27701

* The Durham Civic Center, which will formally be renamed the
Durham Convention Center during the February 17 ceremony, is jointly
owned by the City of Durham and Durham County Government through a 50/50 partnership responsible for capital expenditures, operations, and
maintenance.

* The renaming ceremony will take place prior to the invocation
at the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon.
Featured speakers at the renaming ceremony include Mayor William V.
“Bill” Bell and Commissioner Michael Page.

* The name change was recommended by C.H. Johnson Consulting,
Inc., who completed a market and economic analysis of the center in
September 2005. According to its analysis, a new name would provide a
better description of the facility, thus making it easier to attract
more events to downtown Durham.

* In addition to the new name, changes to improve the existing
space include the conversion of three exhibit halls into ballrooms, with
new lighting, new partition walls, and new carpeting. The center also
sports upgrades to the restrooms and remodeling to the pre-function
corridor. Other improvements include heating, ventilation, and air
conditioning (HVAC) upgrades as well as Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) upgrades.

* The renovation of the center, totaling more than $3.3 million
for Phase I of the project, is being funded through City of Durham 2005
general obligation bonds with matching funding contributed by Durham
County Government. Other funding sources include contributions to
upgrade the HVAC system by Shaner Hotel Group, who manages the Durham
Convention Center as well as the Durham Marriott adjacent to the center.

* The City’s Department of General Services is overseeing the
renovation as part of the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). To
learn more about the CIP, visit the City’s Web site at
www.durhamnc.gov/cip/main.cfm.

* The center is overseen by the Durham Convention Center
Authority, whose members are appointed by the Durham City Council and
the Durham County Board of Commissioners.

HEAT 1 Acvtivities for December 2008

 Posted by: “Crews, Jerome”Jerome.Crews@durhamnc.gov Fri Feb 6, 2009 5:53 am (PST)

During the month of December, HEAT 1 Officers conducted the following activities

Heat 1 Officers recovered 5 handguns.

Heat 1 Officers seized $619.00 in US Currency.

Heat 1 Officers seized 25.6 grams of Crack Cocaine.

Heat 1 Officers conducted 36 traffic stops.

Heat 1 Officers seized 185 Grams of Marijuana.

Heat 1 Officers arrested 93 persons.

Heat 1 Officers served 63 warrants.

Heat 1 Officers arrested 4 gang members.

Heat 1 Officers charged 41 Felony charges.

Heat 1 Officers charged 124 Misdemeanor charges.

Heat 1 Officers identified and addressed over 100 Quality of Life Issues thorough out District 1. To include graffiti complaints, abandoned vehicles, abandoned houses and parking violations.

Heat 1 Officers conducted 5 Special Operations throughout District 1 and the Bulls Eye Area. One of the special operations conducted was “Operation Merry Christmas Dead Beat Daddy”. As a result of this operation HEAT 1 officers served a total of $282,348.85 in Arrears of Non Child Support Warrants.

Golden Belt Neighborhood Association Outlook 2009

 What’s on Tap @ GBNA in the coming months!

  • Community Fellowship
  • East Main Street Streetscape Project Phase 1
  • Inter-Neighborhood Council Addition  
  • Local Historic District Designation
  • Neighborhood Revitalization 
  • Neighborhood Watch
  • Road Widen of Alston Avenue Follow up

If there are any other points of focus to be tackled please direct us to it.

All suggestions welcomed.

 

Next meeting Feb.ruary 19, 2009

GB building #2 3rd Floor @ 6pm