Joines answers tough questions on 2018 bond proposal

Joines answers tough questions on 2018 bond proposal
April 05
04:00 2018

Members of the East/Northeast Neighborhood Association and more than a dozen other community advocates sat down with Mayor Allen Joines last week to voice their concerns with the 2018 Bond Proposal. 

Last month city officials began their push for another bond package by holding a series community meetings at various locations throughout the city. While a meeting was being held just a few miles away at Parkview Church of God on Thursday, March 29, an impromptu meeting broke out at the 14th Street Community Center on the same night when Marva Reid invited the Mayor Joines to speak. 

“City Council is doing a good job of putting out information on the bonds but it’s up to us to find out how they will impact our community,” said Reid president of the East/Northeast Neighborhood Association. “If you want to know what’s going on the information is there.” 

To begin his discussion on the bonds Joines said, “It’s kind of like maintaining a house. Occasionally you may have to put a new furnace in or whatever the case may be and the city is the same way.”

Joines mentioned that other metro cities in NC have bond projects every two to three years. Before 2014, the city of Winston-Salem had not approved a bond package since 2000. 

“Some people may say these bonds are coming awfully quick but if you look at most cities Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro they have bonds every two to three years,” Joines continued. “…We fell behind.” 

In 2014 voters approved a proposal for $139.2 million to improve economic development, housing, public safety, parks and recreation, and streets and sidewalks. This time city officials are asking for $122 million. Major projects include a new radio system for public safety communications, construction of a new fire station, and renovations at Winston Lake, Salem Lake and other parks throughout city. 

Also listed in the proposal is $11.7 million for housing and neighborhood revitalization, with  $1.7 million of that being dedicated to the East Winston community. According to a brief summary of projects listed on the city’s website, the $1.7 million will be used for “targeted housing development investment”.

While new housing opportunities can be a good thing for some communities, many at the meeting voiced their concerns with the houses that already occupy space in East Winston.

Last year several residents and community organizations complained about the appraisal process. One resident in the East Winston community saw his home depreciate by nearly $20,000.

When asked if bond funds could be used for upkeep of existing homes, Mayor Joines said bond funds will be geared toward new development. He said the city uses second and third parties to revitalize existing housing and property. 

“The key to it is finding partners to take it on. We’re looking for partners the city can join in and help,” Joines said. 

City native and community activist Phillip Carter said while it’s great to have up to date parks, streets and sidewalks something has to be done to help the people.

He said, “You can’t live in a park. You can’t live at the golf course or the public safety center and you can’t stay in a recreation center but you do live in your house, and when I look at the amount of money you’re putting toward revitalization, why are we spending $55 million on streets and sidewalks?”

“… the community can’t live on them. So what I’m wondering is how all this bond money is going to bring an economic gain to the residents in the 14th Street community?” 

Joines responded by saying if you have good roads, streets, and parks in a community that makes your property worth more. He said, “If you have recreational facilities close to your house, if somebody wants to buy your house, it would be a lot easier to sell. 

“If your city maintains its infrastructure and create jobs there, the rest of the city will come up with it.”

As the meeting came to a close, Reid suggested organizing a committee of residents that would bring ideas to the City Council for consideration. 

“We need to find out how we can communicate better,” Reid said. “We have to set up something so we can aggressively listen and take action. We need to work together to make things happen.”

Today, Thursday, April 5, city officials will hold another “capital needs” meeting to discuss the bond proposal at the Winston Lake Family YMCA at 6 p.m. The final meeting will be held on April 12 at the Salem Lake Marina. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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