Downtown Partnership

I heart downtown Chapel Hill

Is anyone else as sick as I am of the Chapel Hill News harping on how much downtown sucks? Last weekend there was a big spread mostly about how we are doomed (again). It was way too lengthy for me to dissect it all, but if you read it, please share your thoughts.

Here's one great letter to the editor in response:

How dare they be homeless?

I, too, am outraged at the panhandling that occurs on Franklin Street. Even all of the letters from Sunday's paper could not convey my disgust at those homeless. How dare they ask me for money! I mean, they chose to be homeless; it's their fault.

They buy drugs and alcohol and don't save their money like us good, righteous folks. They stand there smoking expensive cigarettes, and turn right around to ask me for change. They waste their money, so they deserve to sleep on freezing concrete. My rights are being trampled when they ask for money, and their poverty makes me so uncomfortable.

Behind closed doors

I was disappointed, but not surprised, to read about the recent closed-door session of the Chapel Hill Downtown Economic Development Corporation. Here on OP we have raised a number of concerns about this new downtown player since it's creation.

Looks like Kirk Ross at the Independent Weekly has joined the skeptics. He writes:

In one quick meeting last week, the [Corporation] managed to alienate a number of the players needed to make new ideas work and raise suspicion among the general public about just what the group is up to. ...

For folks interested in the future of downtown Chapel Hill, the board's action was enlightening, as was the rather imperial response by board member J. Allen Fine, when asked by Epting why he wanted to do things in closed session. "Why not?" Fine replied.

A Taxing Situation Downtown

,Well, it always amused me that the first thing the town/gown/merchant committee took up, while thinking about how to organize the effort to create a nonprofit downtown development entity, was whether to drop the downtown special tax. Oh, so that's the problem! Forget about the empty storefronts and buildings kept empty by landlords who have driven up rents beyond what's reasonable on Franklin Street, and who won't countenance the idea that the market has changed, that with the explosion of retail space in the Triangle, the rents they enjoyed in the 1990s (adjusted for inflation) are no longer fair market rents. No no! It's a levy of 6.2 cents per $100 that's killing commerce downtown!



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