Master-plan makers return to East Winston

Photo by Tevin Stinson- More than 50 people gathered at First Calvary Baptist Church last week to discuss the future of their neighborhood.

Master-plan makers return to East Winston
July 06
03:00 2017

Ayers Saint Gross, the design firm hired to create a master plan for a large portion of the East Winston community, made another visit to the city last week.

During the open house meeting, hosted by Council Member Derwin Montgomery at First Calvary Baptist Church, where he is pastor, residents had another opportunity to discuss what they would like to see in their neighborhood. A similar meeting was held in May.

This time, representatives from Ayers Saint Gross provided several maps of the area west of U.S. Highway 52 and the neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. While some residents discussed the need for new shopping areas and grocery stores, most of the people in attendance had one concern: the displacement of the residents who currently call the neighborhood home.

Winston-Salem State University alum Chris Taylor said the meeting was informative, but it also felt like some of the changes to the neighborhood are beyond the control of the average citizen. After discussing the neighborhood with Ayers Saint Gross representative Amber Wendland, Taylor said he feared that people would be pushed out by the development of upscale townhomes, and high end stores, similar to what has happened downtown.

“We want innovation, opportunity for the people who live here, and we want beautification but we want beautification that doesn’t mean gentrification,” Taylor said.    

Ayers Saint Gross was brought on by city officials and Simon Green Atkins Community Development Corporation to take a serious look at the neighborhood and to lay out a plan for the future. According to Wendland, their job is set the guidelines for future developers and investors in the East Winston community. She said once the master plan is put in place, investors will have to follow those guidelines. While speaking with local community activist JoAnne Allen, Wendland said nothing will be built without the consent of the people.

“That’s why we’re here, to make sure residents are engaged throughout this entire process,” said Wendland. “We want to make sure we’re building first for the people in the neighborhood, but there is also a lot of opportunity to really create something special.”

The final draft of the master plan is expected to be unveiled by late September. While residents like Taylor fear for the future of East Winston as he knows it, others remain optimistic that elected officials and other stakeholders will do the right thing for the people in the community.

“I’m just going by what I’m told. I think as long as the council members are involved, they won’t let them just pushing anything on us,” said Veldon Meredith, a longtime East Winston resident.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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