Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a city of about 240,000 people and home to two universities. Old Town was once the hub of vibrant nightlife in Winston Salem over 30 years ago but today it has succumbed to empty buildings, crime and drugs. The redevelopment of Old Town promises to bring the area back to life with retail shops and restaurants signifying progress in Winston-Salem as well as helping create jobs in this struggling economy.
The city’s master plan for the area envisions development that will include retail shops and restaurants creating service sector jobs including waiters, cooks, cashiers, and store managers among others. There is an estimated 900 service sector jobs just waiting to be filled. In addition, the city is in the process of purchasing land for an apprenticeship program that will provide training for at least 25 people each year. These jobs are popular because they do not require a college degree and train workers through a one-year certificate program teaching them construction skills.
The redevelopment of Old Town is part of Winston Salem’s larger plan to revitalize itself as a modern city on the move with an attractive downtown area and upstanding citizens while getting rid of its old image as a dirty city where crime is prevalent. The efforts to redevelop Old Town may be just what Winston Salem needs to attract new residents as well as giving current residents something positive to look forward to in their home town.
Altogether, this development should help Winston-Salem citizens and attract new ones because it will bring in new jobs as well as help the city become a cleaner, safer place for people to live. In addition, investing money into local redevelopment projects benefits the community by creating something new and encouraging people living there to take pride in their neighborhoods and home town.
Additionally, with the city purchasing land for an apprenticeship program, it will be able to train workers and teach them construction skills in order to help them get a job. In turn, this will provide these new jobs that were previously unattainable because of lack of opportunity or education.
The redevelopment project is estimated to cost about $120 million which comes from federal tax credits as well as state and local permits. As far as the land goes, there are currently four parcels of land under consideration but none have been bought or leased at this time. The city is doing its due diligence in researching this area before making any final decisions concerning the future use of the land . All of these redevelopment efforts will create employment opportunities and offer Winston-Salem citizens a chance to take control of their own destiny by becoming the masters of their own future.
The city has not stated an official timeline for the project including when construction on new buildings will begin, however currently there are two major projects on the table that may get underway soon. The first potential development is a large hotel on Fourth Street that would connect to the convention center as well as provide at least 200 jobs.