Work has started on the Freedom Cornerstone site, located on the southeast corner of the greenway at Gate City Blvd. and Murrow Blvd. The site will be transformed into the fourth and final cornerstone of the greenway project, which focuses on the theme of Freedom - an integral part of Greensboro's history and future. Internationally renowned artist, Radcliffe Bailey, was selected to commission this major piece of public art. His design includes many components that are rich in symbolism and historical significance, including references to Middle Passage, the Underground Railroad, West African culture, and the experience of enslaved people in the southern US. The art will also incorporate elements of poetry, music, and sound.
Read more about the Freedom Cornerstone and Radcliffe Bailey's design here.
As we approach the cooler Fall temperatures, we are excited to share that walking tours are back! These free guided tours of the Downtown Greenway are a great way to explore and learn al the intricacies of the greenway. Join us to learn how the greenway came to be, Greensboro's history, surrounding neighborhoods, public art installations, environmental stewardship, community stories, economic impact, future projects, and more!
Tours will start and finish at LoFi Park (500 N. Eugene Street) and be led by Program Coordinator, Chelsea Phipps, or Project Manager, Dabney Sanders. Each tour is approximately 3 hours and will cover the entire 4-mile loop, including the three miles of completed greenway and also the future section to be constructed along the western side. Space is limited for each tour, which are offered monthly on Saturday mornings from 9 am - 12 noon, during September to December.
Register online to reserve your space.
The Downtown Greenway beehive has been buzzing with excitement - and turmoil!
First established in April 2021, the honey bee hive is located within the Public Orchard at Meeting Place, our Tradition Cornerstone at the corner of Smith Street and Prescott Street. Thanks to the expertise and efforts of our volunteer beekeepers, Amy Moyle and TJ Mayer, the hive has successfully settled in over the last year and a half. Earlier this summer, however, things were not looking so great. For some reason, the original colony of Italian bees (a traditionally calm and docile breed, which is great for educational purposes) had moved out and abandoned the hive - possibly due to troublesome skunks in the area.
In their place, a new colony of "squatter bees" had moved in; however, they were certainly not as friendly. The result was a beehive full of rather angry and aggressive bees, who were not suitable for our community park setting. Even these bees were not happy with their situation, as there was then a mutiny within the colony! The drone bees decided they wanted to new leadership, and so the poor Queen met a tragic demise and was killed off. In actuality, this is not uncommon within honey bee colonies, but is typically done to help improve their overall colony health and reproductive abilities.
A hive without a Queen runs the risk of failing, so the drone bees got to work right away to prepare a replacement! One of the late Queen's daughter's - a worker bee egg - was then selected to become their new leader. After hatching, this particular larva was fed "royal jelly" to encourage her ultimate growth into their new Queen. Our hope was that this new Queen would help to calm her colony, seeing as they had grown her themselves - but the troubles did not stop there and the aggressive behavior continued.
Fast forward another month, and our beekeeper team embarked on a fascinating undertaking - to capture the Queen and replace her with a new (and calm) Italian Queen we purchased from Triad Bee Supply. So we did just that. Perhaps she sensed what was about to happen, because she was certainly difficult to locate. After almost 40 minutes of tedious searching through the frames and hive boxes, TJ spotted her! She was moved into a temporary beehive box, along with two of her frames that held some of the colony's pollen, honey, drones and workers; we wanted to be sure she was setup for success wherever she next called home.
We then walked down Prescott Street with the box - in full beekeeping attire no less, looking like a scene out of a science-fiction move - to donate these bees to a fellow beekeeper. Kaira Wagoner, PhD is a Research Scientist in UNCG's Biology Department, who studies honey bee health and also maintains the hives at the nearby Black Diamond Community Garden. She graciously accepted this donation and relocated our aggressive bee friends across town to another beehive location. Thankfully, after a few weeks of adjustment, our bees are thriving again. As the new Queen produced more eggs (of the Italian breed), the colony slowly transformed back to an entire community of docile Italian bees, and our friendly educational beehive is back. And the rest, as they say, is history!
We are back for the 13th Annual Downtown Greenway Run & Block Party on Saturday, October 8 from 4-8 pm at LoFi Park! Join us for the 1-mile fun run/walk/stroll or the 4-miled timed run, and stay for the after party! The route follows the completed sections of the Downtown Greenway, and the official detour route along the western side. All registered participants will receive this year's event t-shirt, post-run refreshments, and 2 drink tickets - redeemable for beer (age 21+) or soda, juice, or water.
This year's Block Party features a DJ, local food trucks, sponsor tents with giveaways, tailgate-style games, children's activities, raffle items, vendor booths, prize drawings, and more! Be there to join the fun - all ages and dogs are welcome!
Registration is open for the 1-mile and 4-mile events - don't delay and register today! Early Bird pricing continues through August 31, 2022.
A special thank you to all our fabulous sponsors for this year's event:
Dawn S. Chaney Foundation
City of Greensboro
Joymongers Brewing Co.
The Cemala Foundation
Deep Roots Market
Downtown Greensboro Inc.
Greensboro Parks Foundation
Fox Rothschild LLP
Greensboro Municipal Federal Credit Union
Local businesses and organizations can apply to be a vendor and setup at the event.
Interested in volunteering? We have lots of opportunities to help as course monitors, at water stations, and throughout the block party event. Sign-up to volunteer and receive an event t-shirt and snacks!
For complete event details, schedule, and more please visit tinyurl.com/DGrun or contact Event & Race Director, Chelsea Phipps.
The Downtown Greenway’s newest public art piece was installed in August 2022, as the neighborhood bench for East Greensboro. Vigilance is located at the corner of Murrow Boulevard and East Market Street. The piece features a central candle column surrounded by three triangular benches, all adorned in mosaic work with colorful ceramics and mirrors. Created by artist Theresa Arico, the sculptures also include embedded verses throughout from Amanda Gorman‘s poem The Hill We Climb.
It is a powerful work of art and absolutely stunning! Stop by the corner of Market & Murrow to experience it for yourself, and let us know what you think.
Theresa shares that mosaic is her favorite form of creative expression because it allows the use of both new and recycled objects to create a new vision and purpose. The ability to reassign value in cast-off objects that would typically contribute to the waste stream is important to her. Reinvention and second chances are important aspects of our human story as well. Theresa’s primary focus is creating or contributing to an environment that is nourishing and healing, and she hopes her work infuses others with hope, inspiration and passion. Theresa is based in Chapel Hill, NC and is an active member of the Orange County Artists Guild.
The Downtown Greenway is a collaboration between Action Greensboro and the City of Greensboro, with split responsibilities and shared oversight of various components related to the project. With the Downtown Greenway nearing completion, some specific areas have recently transitioned, as has been planned for a number of years.
Effective July 1, 2022, all greenway programming, communications, volunteerism and education have transitioned from Action Greensboro to the City of Greensboro, and specifically, with Greensboro Parks and Recreation. A new full-time position was created to coordinate these efforts, with Chelsea Phipps now serving as the Greenways & Gardens Program Coordinator, and the main point of contact for the Downtown Greenway.
Action Greensboro remains heavily involved, with Downtown Greenway Project Manager, Dabney Sanders, continuing oversight of project timelines, construction updates, public art, site furnishings, and finances. Greensboro Parks and Recreation is now managing the Downtown Greenway website, social media accounts, e-newsletter, volunteer opportunities, public programming, educational workshops, large events, and collaborative partnerships. This is in addition to the daily operations, maintenance, landscaping and general upkeep of the greenway, which continues to be managed by Botanical Gardens staff within Greensboro Parks and Recreation.
To learn more about the transition, or with any questions you may have, please contact Chelsea Phipps.
The Downtown Greenway invites proposals from businesses with proven experience and expertise, to submit a proposal for designing and creating a GPS based audio map and app for the Greensboro Downtown Greenway.
The deadline to submit a proposal is March 11, 2022 at 2:00pm. Click here for more information and the RFP requirements.
Click here for answers to questions regarding the RFQ.
We now have three of the four miles complete and open! 2021 saw the opening of the Murrow Boulevard section from the southeast corner of Murrow and Gate City Boulevard going north along Murrow, underneath Summit Avenue, and continuing along the northern section on Fisher Avenue. There is a small section of Fisher Avenue that passes over Church Street that will be completed when the roadway bridge deck is replaced in 2022. A detour route will be posted as that goes under construction.
Western Branch, the final mile section along the western side, was finally put out to bid in December! We expect to have a contractor in place during the first quarter of 2022 and construction on the last mile will begin shortly thereafter. This section and the entire 4-mile loop should be completed in 2023.
Plans for the stream restoration on sections of the College Branch stream on the western side have been underway and we expect that work to begin in summer 2022. A grant from the North Carolina Land and Water Fund will enable this work. We are partnering with the Piedmont Conservation Council to oversee the project.
The renovation of LoFi Park was completed in 2021. It’s an amazing space. Thanks to the work of permaculture designers, David Mudd and Justin Vettel, LoFi Park is home to beautiful paths, trees, an artificial turf lawn area, and a rain garden. After an extension of premise permit due to COVID, Joymongers Brewing Company now serves alcohol to be enjoyed in the park.
The spring will bring the addition of 2 more art projects at the Summit Avenue bridge underpass and a new neighborhood artist bench at the corner of East Market Street and Murrow Blvd.
The Freedom Cornerstone design plans have been submitted for review to the TRC Committee and artist Radcliffe Bailey and his team anticipate the start of construction and installation in April 2022.
We are excited to announce that the Western Branch from Smith to Spring Garden Street went out to bid on January 27 with the bid opening on February 24. We anticipate construction beginning the spring and project completion at the end of 2023.
Atlanta artist Radcliffe Bailey explores themes of ancestry, race and collective memory in new commissions with Adron McCann with Atlanta's WABE -90.1FM. Radcliffe Bailey has two commissions underway--one at the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve in Atlanta and the other on the Downtown Greenway. Click here to listen to the interview. Radcliffe and his team have submitted design plans to the TRC Review Committee and anticipate installation of the Freedom Cornerstone later this spring at the corner of Gate City Blvd and Murrow Blvd.