The Liberty Street Community Development Corporation will lose its staunchest and most public ally at the end of October.
James “Jim” Shaw, the president and chairman of the CDC, announced his resignation Tuesday during a board meeting.
He has led the CDC, a private nonprofit that works to revitalize the Liberty Street Corridor, for the past 8 years. He said that he feels he has done all he can do for Liberty Street.
“Due to the circumstances, I am at a crossroads, and I can’t go anywhere. It is best for somebody else to take the helm and move forward,” said Shaw, whose resignation will be effective Oct. 31.
Those circumstances, Shaw said, include conflicts the CDC board has had with City of Winston-Salem staff and City Council members; however, he would not discuss specific individuals or incidents.
“I don’t think that we are able to do on Liberty Street what needs to be done, like bringing in new businesses or assisting businesses on Liberty Street,” Shaw said. “We probably don’t have support from the city, city officials or elected officials. I don’t know. I think that some of them have been supportive, but not all of them.”
Recently, Shaw expressed frustration over the city’s decision to contract with a private company to run the soon-to-open Liberty Vendors’ Market. Shaw said that city leaders had intimated that the CDC would be given the reins of the venue, which will give vendors space to sell everything from clothes to produce.
“We are at a point where we can’t grow without the assistance of the City of Winston-Salem,” Shaw said.
City Manager Lee Garrity said the city has stood by the CDC’s side. He pointed to major investments that have been made in CDC projects over the years. But during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the CDC was given just $8,820 by the city, according to Lisa Saunders, the city’s chief financial officer.
“I know Mr. Shaw would have liked more funding from the city, but we have been the principal funder for the CDC for more than 10 years,” Garrity said. “Our funding is limited just like anybody else. We are taking cuts from the state, and its not easy for us to increase our funding.”
Overall, he said he hates to see Shaw go.
“Jim has been a real leader and has worked tirelessly for Liberty Street for many years. I always say that the best partnerships are when you have a strong community leader who pushes hard and holds everybody accountable. Certainly, Jim did that,” Garrity said. “We will continue to work with the CDC after he is gone. We have invested millions of dollars in that area and will continue to do so.”
Stan Senft, vice president of the board, said he hates Shaw’s decision but he understands why he made it.
“It’s just time for a change. We have some good, young people on the board … He has been talking about retirement for several years,” Senft said.
The board will next meet on Sept. 16 at the State Employees Credit Union on New Walkertown Road at 12:30 p.m. to discuss the process for replacing Shaw.
Senft said he knows the board will never have another James Shaw.
“He is just one of a kind.”