Stakeholders question future for East Winston

Local business owner Kenya Thorton looks over a map of East Winston with Ayers Saint Gross representative Amber Wendland during a community forum on Thursday, March 23

Stakeholders question future for East Winston
April 06
07:00 2017

Photo by Tevin Stinson

Residents voice frustrations and fears of being pushed out of  community by city’s master plan



This summer, stakeholders in East Winston will have the opportunity to map out the future of the neighborhood where they live, work, and play.

But some in the community believe they are developing their own demise.

Late last month, representatives from Ayers Saint Gross, a Baltimore-based design firm, held the first of a series of workshops and listening sessions with various people and organizations to find out what they would like the future of their community to look like.

For two days, planners and other members of the Ayers Saint Gross team met with city officials, residents, business owners, nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, and possible investors in the East Winston area to discuss future planning, and growth for the area. During the workshop, sponsored by Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, City Council Member and East Ward Representative Derwin Montgomery said the goal of the partnership is to build a vision for the east end based on community engagement and support.

“This is your plan. The things that are said here today will spark energy into the future of this area,” said Montgomery. “The small sessions and workshops we’re having all come back to the point of what does the neighborhood have to say. Everything you say here today is vital.

“At the end of the day when you look at any type of development in the community, it needs to come from those who live and reside in the community,” Montgomery said.

While Montgomery assured residents that he would never recommend anything to City Council without the approval of the community, several longtime residents questioned what they saw and heard from planners with Ayers Saint Gross.

After looking over a map of what the future of East Winston would look like based on other master plans from Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, Winston-Salem State University, and the possible completion of the Cleveland Avenue Area Plan, which featured new condominiums, multi-use spaces for housing and retail, and other upscale features,  several residents said they feared they would be pushed out of their own neighborhood.

“When I look at the master plan, I see a lot of people being displaced,” said Phillip Carter, who has lived in East Winston for more than 50 years.

“My concern when you come in and build all this stuff is affordability. The people who live in this area now can’t afford to live in town homes and condos. We want to see growth in our community but we don’t want to be pushed out.”

According to Karla Aghajanian with Ayers Saint Gross, their efforts are guided by a steering committee that consists of local nonprofits and others in the community, including Montgomery. She mentioned the company of planners and architects specializes in redeveloping communities that are impacted by institutions of higher education.

“This is a prime area for us,” she said. “Our community development work is hallmarked by our stakeholder and resident engagement, and community outreach.”

Although the next community forum is not yet scheduled, Aghajanian said they have already planned to make several trips back to the Twin City throughout the summer to meet with residents and others in the community.  The official master plan is expected to be unveiled in August.

Following the first community forum held at United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, Carter didn’t seem convinced that the community would be involved throughout the entire process.

“It seems like we’re developing our own doom,” Carter said.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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