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« Vote Against Amendment One | Main | Dignitatis Humanae »

Apr 24, 2012


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Here is what I posted at Bill Hancock's very thorough blog on the issue.

Another approach:

Put so many benches downtown that the homeless or whoever wants to sit on them has so many places to choose from that congregation and excessive panhandling is not an issue.

I have been "handled" many times. Just say no.....thank you.

The GPD has those great Segways, use them to encourage folks to "move along".

We need to encourage all type of folks to congregate downtown. Those who spend money and those who have none......

Billy Jones

My e-mail to Ed Wolverton and James.Steber:

'So you want to promote more business in downtown Greensboro by excluding the elderly by not providing benches where they can rest? Real bright, guys, real bright. Like I've written on dozens of Internet forums, "Greensboro is run by morons!"

Ed Wolverton's reply:

"Mr. Jones:

I received your message about benches and assume you are commenting about the proposed improvements at Hamburger Square Park.

As you may know, this is small park that could use some sprucing up and currently has no benches. So you know, DGI staff specifically brought up the idea of benches and seating areas. Another person suggested an extensive renovation to make this park similar to Center City Park. After discussing these ideas and others with surrounding business and property owners, a group that host events in the park and the City staff that maintains the space and will fund the renovations, the consensus was to improve existing conditions and keep the proposed improvements simple and affordable.

The City did receive additional comments during Wednesday's session about the draft plan. I will make sure your support of new seating is added to the comments and taken into consideration for the final improvements.

Thank you.


I stand by my assertion that Greensboro is run by morons.

  Bill Yaner

A park without benches is like a boat basin without docks.

Moronic indeed, Mr. Jones.

Brown Paper Bag

Greensboro is scared of poor people.......

  Bill Yaner

And poor people are justifiably scared of Greensboro.

Billy Jones

Bill Yaner wrote, "And poor people are justifiably scared of Greensboro."

That is so unbelievably true.

Billy Jones

I also fund it interesting that everyone keeps tossing around that $50 Million Dollar figure when the actual cost is closer to the $72 Million Dollar figure first mentioned in the media. Even the Mayor of Durham told us to expect to spend $60 Million plus the cost of land.

Why is truth so hard for these so called, "prime movers and shakers?" Are they in-fact the sociopaths it's been suggested they might be?

Eric Robert

A very illustrative title/reference as it is exactly what is happening... a homeless on a bench can conjure many feelings, some feel fear, some feel anger...most of us should feel compassion and gratitude. A homeless does not mean less human or less worthy ... Imagine what our city could become if we no longer engineered it out of fear and exclusion. Downtown is NOT and should never be a mall !!!


If we step back for a minute and not fixate on benches as we know and see them, what downtown Greensboro could really use are sitting areas - these could be benches, chairs, rocks, concrete planters, or any variety of informal areas where one can rest a bit. Look, if airports can place sitting areas that discourage sleeping, we can too. Benches come in many shapes and sizes and many are designed specifically to discourage people from being able to lie prostrate on them. I remember getting chastised by a Center City Park employee because I had stretched out on a bench in the park. (Not sleeping mind, you but stretching - I have a bad back.)
Frankly, if we want sitting areas downtown, we can not expect DGI to take the lead, so who will take the lead on "100 Benches for Downtown." The project could start by identifying criteria for placement of new seating areas - (visible, accessible, well lit, etc.) and then identify places on both public right of way and private property that could play host to seating areas.
And, frankly, if you see someone who is intoxicated or sleeping on a bench, tap them on the shoulder and remind them benches are for everyone, or if you don't feel comfortable with that, call the GPD.
A downtown with no areas for people to rest, enjoy the scene and people watch is a deficient one and is not a downtown that sends the message that it is for everyone.

"Put so many benches downtown that the homeless or whoever wants to sit on them has so many places to choose from that congregation and excessive panhandling is not an issue."

Re: Congregation -- I like the suggestion of lots of benches. Homeless people should be able to sit on benches, too. Homeless shelters, services and meals are downtown, so there are going to be homeless people downtown, and the vast majority of them are pedestrians. They need a place to sit and rest. Sometimes they sit with a spouse/partner, friend or friends. I guess that's "congregation". At Center City Park, there's a small group of older men, some homeless, some formerly homeless, who sometimes sit together and talk about sports and politics and more. But there are lots of benches in that park, so it doesn't seem to be a problem, except for perhaps some people who may just be scared of homeless people. And I don't know a cure for that, other than education. If there were lots and lots of benches spread throughout downtown in open areas, then homeless people sitting together on some of the benches shouldn't be an issue. And if anyone, homeless or not, was engaging in bad behavior on benches, that would be an issue for GPD to address.

Re: Panhandling -- That is a separate issue from benches. Panhandling downtown is mostly in the form of begging. That's when someone walks up to you or speaks to you as you pass and directly asks for money, or maybe tells you a story about why they need money. That's as opposed to someone flying a sign on a corner asking for money. Begging is much more intimidating for most people. Not all homeless people beg and not all beggars are homeless. Panhandling is an enforcement issue. Many people don't report it if someone asks them for money on the street. GPD cannot enforce the panhandling laws if citizens don't report violations. If someone approaches you on the street downtown asking for money, they have to be displaying a panhandling license and they have to be following all of the rules in the ordinance: http://bit.ly/GNaBY9. Based on the restrictions, there aren't many places downtown that a person could legally panhandle. Problems with beggars should be reported to the police immediately.

Eric Robert

Brian, let's do it!
I know of a few private properties we can start with...this being budget time, I also know of a great available source of funding for aspirational Downtown projects ... you have to come with me to city council though.

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