Dunleith Development Conversations

The last two weeks at Urban Harvest have been formidable. We’re having a conversation about Dunleith, started a new conversation about another community space, and are applying for our first major grant. News on the latter two as they develop.

As for Dunleith, lets start out with some history. The land at 677 Chestnut St, in the Aycock neighborhood is known as Dunleith because that was the name of the antebellum estate that existed on the site of prominent North Carolina Judge Robert P. Dick from about 1858 until 1969 when it was demolished and planned for new construction. (Greensboro’s Treasured Places) Since then disagreement between the developers and the neighborhood have stalled any new construction on the site, leaving it the largest undeveloped site (6 acres) in the vicinity of downtown Greensboro.

Last November, the City of Greensboro Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) hosted a design charrette from November 18-21, at Revolution Mill Studios to spur discussion once again. (See the Dunleith Charette Proposals) It was facilitated by Urban Design team Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) of Charlotte, and Piedmont Community Design Forum (PCDF) of Greensboro. The result was an agreement approval of mixed used space including Urban Agriculture.

Duneith Proposal

In April of 2009, a member of PCDF heard Urban Harvest speak at the Piedmont Environmental Center about our vision for local and urban food production in Greensboro. So PCDF engaged Urban Harvest, and the result was a community garden on about one-half acre, in an already cleared space, at Dunleith.

Obviously this wasn’t the entire vision for urban agriculture of Urban Harvest or DPZ, and there are still at least 5.5 acres to be developed. So on almost the one-year anniversary of the design charette, the conversation has picked up once again; in an unprecedented move, the developer, Mr. Dascalakis hosted a lunch for continued conversation. Included in this round-table discussion were representatives from the neighborhood of Aycock, Urban Harvest, and the city of Greensboro, again facilitated by PCDF.

The result of this meeting was to throw the ball into the neighborhood’s court. To continue to remain as key players in the future of the Dunleith site, the neighborhood needs to first agree upon one of the five plans that PCDF/DPZ sketched out at last-year’s Charette. Urban Harvest will also be part of this neighborhood discussion, as we would be “developing” part of the site in our own way as a key feature of the site.

Over the course of November, we need residents of Aycock to express your questions and concerns, and voice your opinions about the options that lay before us. You can post a message on our blog below or you can contact Brian Heagney at eatyourarms@hotmail.com or 336-392-0868.

The next neighborhood board meeting is Monday, November 30th, 2009 at 6:30 pm, in the community room of St. Leo’s Place.  At that meeting, we welcome all to come and participate in a vote to select a design plan. This is an historic moment for the neighborhood, for the Dunleith site, and for community development in Greensboro; be part of it!

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