Category: Voices on the Ground

Bri Simpson Talks About Community Support for the Greensboro Downtown Greenway

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My name is Bri Simpson, and I’m originally from Seattle, Washington, actually a little bit south of Seattle, in Tacoma.  I moved to North Carolina about 18 months ago, initially to Asheville for work with REI.  Just recently, about two months ago, I moved to Greensboro to take the manager position at the REI store here.  I did a lot of research on Greensboro when I applied for the job here.  I have seen greenways, but I’m really, really impressed with the greenways here.  I think that they have a great long-term plan, and they have groups and organizations in place to make that plan a reality—a reality in a pretty reasonable amount of time! I think when you get the community involved in a project like this, it’s not just one or two people that have to be really invested in it.  It seems that a lot of the community has been invested in the Greenway—with the art pieces and with the excitement around it.  And that’s probably one of the reasons why these greenways that they’re looking to connect and this master plan is going to become a reality.  Talk to anybody in the area, and they are familiar with the Greenway.  They know the Greenway, and they’re excited for it to be completed.  A lot of people are already using it prior to completion.  I think when you get the entire community involved in a project like this and local businesses, then it is going to be successful.  And you know it’s going to be successful because it’s not just one or two people with a big idea—it’s a lot of people who are in this idea.

Bri Simpson Talks About Benefits of Living on the Downtown Greenway

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My name is Bri Simpson, and I’m originally from Seattle, Washington, actually a little bit south of Seattle, in Tacoma.  When I moved here, I was looking specifically for an apartment building of some kind.  I really wanted some of the amenities, so not just the location was important to me.  I also wanted to make it really feel like home, and be in a place that I could live in for not just a year or a couple of years, so I could really establish a home here.  This location has all sorts of things: the pool, the stadium, workout facilities.  In addition, it’s a little bit out of downtown so I still get to go downtown and have the downtown vibe.  I like the Fisher Park neighborhood.  It offers a little bit more nature than being right downtown. Throughout my 11 years with REI, I’ve pretty much tried everything that we have to offer—being out west with people who take part in mountaineering and a lot of the snow sports.  Then moving out here, I got into biking in Asheville.  Asheville is a huge bike community, so when I moved to Greensboro there were some things that I really looked at.  The trails are close by.  It has a lot to offer as far as mountain biking and hiking trails.  And the Greenway was something that I really appreciated—being able to go out my back door and jump on the Greenway for a ride or to commute to work. One of the things that drew me to this location was being literally right on the Downtown Greenway.  It’s also very, very close to the green that went to REI.  So essentially, I can ride my bike or run to Friendly Center and be right at work in a really easy amount of time.  It makes the commute a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable than my commute in Nashville.  

Scott Neely Talks About Storm Water on the Greensboro Downtown Greenway

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My name is Scott Neely, and I live in downtown Greensboro in the south side district.  Aside from being a youth and arts director, I’m finishing my post-graduate certificate in Sustainable Community Planning and Design from Boston Architectural College.  One of the things that caught my eye with the Downtown Greenway project was the Greenway at Fisher Park being developed along Smith Street.  I noticed the curbs and the sunken area...and I thought that looked a little different than what we normally see.  Putting two and two together with what I’ve been studying, I immediately thought that it had to be a sustainable rain garden—and I was really excited about that! In truth, we are really good at paving things.  We actually need to have a little bit of a concrete diet in our lifestyle.  The importance of this rain garden is that it catches the water without it running off into the storm drains, especially when we experience a heavy storm.  Storm drains can overflow in major rains, so when it overflows it can create flooding and water pollution.  Also when water hits an impervious surface, it can run for miles and collect a bunch of pollutants along the way.  Sustainability is not just a trend. It’s here to stay, and it’s what we all need to start thinking about as we move forward.