Before The Cleveland Avenue Homes Can Be Destroyed, They Must Be Preserved On Paper

“To build, first you must destroy.” That’s the old adage. But when it comes to the redevelopment of the Cleveland Avenue Homes, apparently, they must be preserved on paper, at least before they can be demolished. That’s what a recent public notice from the City of Winston-Salem says, anyway.

“The proposed mitigation activity is the development of a catalog of historical records that documents the impact of post-New-Deal federal legislation on Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, including but not limited to, the construction of interstate highways, public housing, and urban renewal.”-City of W-S, Public Notice

HAWS Property Chart

“Since they will be tearing down those older buildings, we are seeking public comment on them.” -Kelly Bennett, City Planning Staff

But sharing the rich history of the Cleveland Avenue Homes and East Winston history has not been a priority for the City. The Cleveland Avenue Homes Historic Structures Survey Report was published in late 2021. But prior to February’s Cleveland Avenue Homes public notice, it existed in obscurity on the back pages of the City’s website. I didn’t find the report until a year after it was published.
Cleveland Avenue Homes Evaluation of Eligibility Report

Why didn’t the City make the 70-page history of the Clevland Avenue Homes part of its Black History Month social media messaging? The City and County could have easily facilitated a discussion of the report at local WS/FC libraries. The City has an African American History Initiative, but they don’t have a Black History webpage for important historical documents. Unless something changes, it’s unlikely the City will make future documentation on the Cleveland Avenue Homes accessible to the general public.

“The Cleveland Avenue Homes complex also has a strong association with the history of public housing and racial discrimination in Winston-Salem. Overall, the Cleveland Avenue Homes complex retains high levels of integrity in the areas of location, design, setting, workmanship, feeling, and association.” -Cleveland Avenue Homes Historic Structures Survey Report

Cleveland Ave Public Notice
Cleveland Ave Public Notice

Urban Renewal in W-S 1951-1… by CP Tew

1972 Urban Renewal Report R… by CP Tew

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