Outlining a vision to take Greensboro to greater heightsTaiwo Jaiyeoba / October 7, 2022
Share this article:
It goes without saying, Greensboro is a desirable city. This is thanks in large part to the leaders who have invested significantly in this community for many years.
It is on their shoulders we stand and today’s accomplishments are a realization of their contributions. As a city leader, this is always top of mind: connecting legacies with today’s challenges and partnering for a successful tomorrow.
As your city manager, my focus over the past eight months has been this: moving our beautiful city from good to great; shaping an equitable future for all Greensboro residents and visitors.
This focus informed City Council’s adopted budget in July 2022, which increased funding for police, housing, public transit, and arts and culture, while supporting our recent economic development wins. It also includes increased pay for our valuable employees, added staff in the fire department, minority- and women-owned business office, parks and recreation and plan review process as a result of unprecedented growth and development. In the past (9) months we’ve approved more than 4,000 units of housing. That’s moving the needle forward to improve the quality of life for hundreds of people in our city.
The City of Greensboro was awarded $59.4 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding in 2021. To date, City Council awarded nearly 40 percent of these funds to support small, minority, and women-owned businesses, housing initiatives, infrastructure, and organizations that assist our homeless neighbors. Two examples of funded projects are $200,000 provided to the Greensboro Urban Ministry for its building uplift project and $2 million to rehabilitate Southwood Apartments.
Thanks to you, our community overwhelmingly supports bond referendums. In 2016, a majority of you passed a $130 million referendum, resulting in repairs to tornado damaged homes, 96 supportive housing units built for homeless/disabled veterans, and 337 additional units of multi-family housing. As recently as July 2022, many of you voted for a $135 million bond referendum. This will fund building and upgrading additional police and fire facilities, increased housing and parks and recreation investments, and opportunities to improve transportation.
The secret ingredients of successful cities include being intentional, leadership that is vision-driven and willing to resist the urge to change focus simply because it’s convenient.
We have many of the same challenges any growing city grapples with: aging infrastructure, housing affordability, public safety, homelessness, inequity in investments, changes in a post-Covid world, and recruiting and retaining workforce talent.
On a positive note, we have assets many growing cities don’t have: more than 70,000 college students who call Greensboro home, abundance of green spaces and lakes for outdoor recreation, easy commute, locally-owned world class restaurants, sports tournaments and dedicated political leadership.
In my opinion, these very assets will help us to go from good to great and become the most desirable mid-sized city in the United States. I’m committed to this vision. I need you to journey with me and our dedicated 3,300 city employees to make this our reality in Greensboro.
Stay connected and subscribe to the City’s ConnectGSO podcast or send an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taiwo Jaiyeoba is the city manager of Greensboro.