Downtown Winston-Salem Nears 5,000 Residents

“The downtown area continues to grow; over 1,000 new residential units were developed over the last three years. And Jason [Theil] tells me that we’ll soon have over 5,000 people living in downtown. Can you imagine that? Years ago, we said that you could shoot a cannon down Fourth Street at 5 pm and not hit anybody. Today it’s a different story… Obviously, these 5,000 people will continue to support our over 100 restaurants and bars located in the downtown area.”

Allen Joines, State of the City Address, February 15, 2023

But it was a different story back in 1989:

“J. Allen Joines, the city’s development director, said that Winston-Salem’s central business district has about 200 apartments. In addition to scattered lofts above stores and studios, the apartments include the restored USA Hotel on North Trade Street, the Spruce Street YMCA, the Winston Apartments on Fourth Street and the Gray Court Apartments on Broad Street.”
April 16, 1989, Church Evicts Residents

David Rice. Winston-Salem Journal, April 16, 1989, ‘Church’s Plan To Abandon Apartments Dismays City.’

In 1989, Allen Joines was J. Allen Joines, City official, not elected Mayor, and unofficial architect of DTWS’ revitalization. And back in 1989, the City worked to keep senior citizens in their homes. Today, the City of Winston-Salem is on the wrong side of history.

Today, the problem isn’t hypothetical cannons fired on Fourth Street; it’s gun violence centered primarily in underserved East Winston. Today the City of Winston-Salem is in the process of evicting residents at Willie Davis and Cleveland Avenue unless we stop them.

It’s unacceptable that residents at 1200 Willie Davis contacted the City about their unsafe steps only to be shown the door by the City. The City patched one set of steps, removed the other set of steps, and is now attempting to remove the longtime residents of 1200 Willie Davis Drive. But we won’t let that happen!

Downtown is doing pretty well for those few who can afford it. The estimated 5,000 residents living downtown are highly favored, to say the least. They have benefited from tens of millions of tax dollars being spent over the last two decades to make downtown the gilded center of the city. But what about the thousands of predominantly Black, working-class residents living along the Liberty Corridor and Cleveland Avenue? They have been neglected. While downtown development has been an urgent priority of Allen Joines, Cleveland Avenue has been forced to wait decades for redevelopment. And now longtime residents who aren’t part of the plans for Cleveland Avenue are being pushed out by the City. That isn’t right. Contact your City representative today!


HAWS 2011 Choice Neighborhood Application


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