So remember last year when I said that the people threatening violence against Greenbridge were doing more harm than good? They made a bomb threat against the building while it was under construction. Did it make Greenbridge better or cheaper or more accessible? Did it help the developers better serve the community? Did it help the community combat the rising cost of living in Chapel Hill? No, but it probably served to make a small group of activists feel better about themselves.
Yesterday, a group of anarchists entered the lobby of Greenbridge intent on destruction. The group of over 30 demonstrators were armed with an anvil, and proceeded to do major damage to the floor, a glass table, and several pieces of artwork.
Eight people were arrested , and three were held on felony inciting a riot charges until they were released from the Orange County Jail on a total of $8,000 bond.*
With the news that Greenbridge will probably avoid foreclosure, we should all breathe a sigh of relief. Let's just hope that the new buyers will be at least as invested in the community as the previous partners, so they can continue to make good (and maybe even improve on) their promises to Chapel Hill.
There are a lot of good people doing good work to help Northside (such as the wonderful Marian Cheek Jackson Center profiled in the Chapel Hill News this weekend, and the Counter Cartographies Collective mapping the change in neighborhood ownership), but I hope they realize that there are also some jokers that are too caught up in their own childish agenda. If they are are so passionately opposed to Greenbridge, why did they not speak to the Planning Board or the Town Council when it was being approved years ago? Nearly everyone, including many revered leaders in Northside spoke in favor of it. And what are they doing now to help strengthen Northside, and create their own vision of the community's future?
Many committed activists are preparing for tomorrow night's public hearing at the Chapel Hill Town Council meeting to discuss a proposed moratorium on development in an effort to halt the gentrification of Northside. Meanwhile, these violent demonstrators are stroking their own egos and making life harder, even for the people they say they are trying to help. It's a real shame.
* An editorial note: Much of this reporting come from a first hand account that I received confidentially. I confirmed the aspects I could by calling the Orange County Jail, and was also referred to their jail custody report. If anyone has conflicting or clarifying information, I would be happy to hear it. I also hope that some of the few remaining reporters left in Orange County might be able to cover this, but the lack of information about it in today's media is disheartening.