Transformer pops at Spring Garden and Mendenhall

A blown transformer, a burning tree and a fire truck light up the rainy evening on Spring Garden Street.

A blown transformer, a burning tree and a fire truck light up the rainy evening on Spring Garden Street at South Mendenhall.

A Duke Energy transformer exploded above Spring Garden Street at Mendenhall on Monday evening. By 9 p.m., the fire department had arrived, and a police officer was beginning to block traffic on Spring Garden. For whatever reason, the power remained on throughout the neighborhood (as of 9 p.m., at least). The tree on fire, the rain, the red and blue lights and at least three loud bangs from the transformer made for a pretty gaudy scene.

Posted in Duke Energy, Mendenhall Street, Public Safety, Spring Garden Street | Leave a comment

More Duke Energy tree trimming scheduled for College Hill; work will be done on almost all streets in the neighborhood

Street map showing location of Duke Energy's planned tree-trimming work to be doen in December or January

The red lines show where Duke Energy plans to trim trees in December or January. Click on the map to make it big enough to read (you may need to click twice).

Duke Energy is planning to trim trees on most streets in College Hill during UNCG’s winter break. The red lines on the map above show where they’ll be working: South Mendenhall Street between Walker and Oakland avenues, Walker Avenue, Springdale Court, Morehead, McGee, Joyner, Jackson, Fulton and Cedar streets.

Duke Energy is willing to host a community meeting with their arborist between October 31 and November 10. If you would be interested in attending such a meeting, please let me know through the comments, and we’ll work with the city and Duke to get it scheduled.

Posted in Cedar Street, Duke Energy, Fulton Street, Jackson Street, Joyner Street, McGee Street, Mendenhall Street, Morehead Street, Oakland Avenue, Spring Garden Street, Springdale Court, Trees, Walker Avenue | 2 Comments

College Hill’s priciest rental is still empty after four months, plus news of the mattress store, the T-shirts and more pot busts

four college hill residents posing at festival

Neighborhood association volunteers /T-shirt salespeople at Sunday’s Tate Street Festival, from left: Clara Kelly, Arlen Nicholls, David Hemm and Lynn Gagnier. We’re now sold out of medium-size shirts. L and XL are still available. Click here for details. And click here to tell us you want one.

817 rankin place, seen from the streetCollege Hill’s one executive-type rental property has now been on the market for four months. 817 Rankin Place, the relatively new house built in 2005, is going for $2,000 per month with a $2,000 deposit. “Qualifications include credit score over 600, verified income of 3 and 1/2 times the rent monthly, and no prior evictions. No co-signers.” Don’t have to worry about that one turning into a frat house. …

The mattress store at Spring Garden and Mendenhall doesn’t seem to be open any more. A sign has been on the door for months directing customers to its other location, the gloriously named Al Sedgefield’s Discount World of Sleep, down Spring Garden Street on the other side of UNCG. … Are you sure you don’t need an office in College Hill? The Presbyterian Church of the Covenant still has one available. …

Coming attractions: The Havana Cuba All-Stars, Carolina Theatre, Sunday September 25; opening Thursday September 29, UNCG Theatre presents Caroline or Change, book and lyrics by Tony Kushner, Taylor Theatre; “Basie Meets the Duke,” a performance by the two UNCG jazz ensembles, Friday October 7, in the Recital Hall of the Music Building.

Current inventory at the Little Free Library at College Place UMC includes The World According to Garp, War and Remembrance and The History of Film. The kids’ collection features a Calvin and Hobbes anthology. If you have a book or two you’d like to give away, that’s the place to leave them. …

Neighborhood Watch note: Pot busts

The Greensboro police say they’re not making a special effort to make marijuana arrests, but pot smokers are just making it too easy. In the last three months, there have been five pot arrests in College Hill, 12 more on campus and at least 15 in other neighborhoods near UNCG.

In almost all cases, people were stopped for traffic violations or other matters and police smelled marijuana. The state Supreme Court has ruled that the smell of marijuana is probable cause for searching a vehicle, so that’s all it takes. If you smoke weed, don’t do it while driving or walking around in public. The police aren’t going to ignore it.

Posted in Businesses, College Hill Neighborhood Association, College Place UMC, Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Public Safety, Rankin Place, Real Estate, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street, UNCG, UNCG College of Visual and Performing Arts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tate Street news: UNCG buys the former Addams bookstore

the building as seen from tate street

326 South Tate Street: Originally a movie theatre, then a bookstore, and soon a theatre crafts space for the College of Visual and Performing Arts at UNCG

The former Addams bookstore on Tate Street has been bought by UNCG. The university plans for the College of Visual and Performing Arts to use it for theatre crafts, including the production of costumes and props for stage productions.

Dr. Peter Alexander, dean of the college, said the building will not be used for performances. It will replace a building on campus that will be torn down for a new building for the School of Nursing.

“It’s a great location for us,” he said this morning in a telephone conversation. The theatre program’s two performance spaces, UNCG Auditorium and Taylor Theatre, are a block away on Tate Street.

“It will take quite a bit of renovation, but the bones of the building are good.”

The building drew attention from a variety of businesses, said Brian Burnham, the agent for the seller. Various buyers’ interests included using it as a night club, music venue or pool hall, but the seller wasn’t interested in such a use.

“The owner wasn’t willing to do that to the neighborhood,” Burnham said.

The bookstore closed in February 2014, a victim of the shift of book sales from stores to the internet. The building was built in 1938 as a movie theatre. It anchors the Tate Street business district at the north end and sits almost on top of the property line it shares with the house at 324 Tate Street.

Posted in Businesses, Tate Street, UNCG, UNCG College of Visual and Performing Arts | 2 Comments

Greensboro College checks out of its ‘inn’ on Market Street; owner plans to rent the rooms to students, young professionals

empty parking lot at what used to be inn at greensboro college

The Inn at Greensboro College is no longer needed, the college says.

Greensboro College is no longer housing students at the Inn at Greensboro College, the former motel on Market Street at Mendenhall.

Spokesman Lex Alexander said the college no longer needs the facility to accommodate all of its students who want to live on campus. The college’s lease on the building will expire in November.

The building’s owner, Abdul Abu-Hashem, is making maintenance repairs and preparing to rent the apartments to students and possibly young professionals. He hopes to begin advertising for new tenants in October, he said in a telephone conversation today.

“We’re going to make it as good as it was, even better,” he said.

Abu-Hashem operates several other apartment buildings in Greensboro and formerly owned the two Big City Pizza and Subs restaurants on Market Street downtown and Spring Garden Street west of the UNCG campus (updated per the Business Journal report cited in a comment below).

The college bought the 61-unit building in 2002 as part of an ambitious expansion plan. At the time the motel had a reputation as a fleabag occupied by drug dealers and prostitutes. The college’s purchase and extensive renovation removed a chronic problem and eyesore for College Hill and Westerwood.

Greensboro College suffered a financial crisis in 2009; its debt-reduction efforts included selling the building in 2011 to Abdul Brothers Investments. The college has leased the building since then. Last year, Abdul transferred ownership to another of his companies, Dalen Investment Group.

Posted in Greensboro College, Market Street, Mendenhall Street | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Notes: After Gateway party at Jake’s Billiards on September 17, plus our new polling place and historic preservation’s impact

flyer for After Gateway fundraiser, Saturday Sept. 17 at Jake's Billiards

If you don’t know After Gateway, it’s a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults with multiple and/or severe developmental disabilities. It’s located at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. Their annual fund-raiser on September 17 deserves our support. Click on the flyer for more information about the event at Jake’s Billiards or click here for information about After Gateway.  …

If you haven’t gotten the word yet from the county Board of Elections, College Hill has a new polling place again. Beginning with the November 8 elections, it will move back to the Reynolds Center, the former YMCA at Tate and Market streets now owned by Greensboro College. That means voting no longer requires us to play Frogger with the traffic on Washington Street to get to the school administration building from its parking lot across the street. …

Impact of historic preservation

The city Planning Department has put out a report on the impact of historic preservation in Greensboro. “One of the things that make Greensboro such a great place is our neighborhoods.  Our older ones especially tell wonderful stories about life at different points in our history,” the report says. Highlights:

  • Property values in College Hill rose 357 percent from 1980 to 2012; in Fisher Park, 316 percent; and in Aycock, 272 percent.
  • Homeowners and other property owners invested $18 million in improvements in the three local historic districts from 2006-15. (More than 75 percent of the spending was in Fisher Park.)
  • Greensboro has three locally designated historic districts, 12 districts on the National Register of Historic Places, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, a National Historic Landmark (Blandwood Mansion), and 44 individual properties on the National Register.
Posted in City Government, Elections, Events, Greensboro College, Historic Preservation, Presbyterian Church of the Covenant | Tagged | Leave a comment

An especially lively month ahead for the arts in College Hill, including 17 Days art and music and the Tate Street Festival

September calendar of events in College HillGreensboro’s annual 17 Days arts festival begins on Friday September 9 with the opening of the 76th National Folk Festival. It continues through Sunday September 25. Five festival events are scheduled in College Hill:

  • Collage 2016
    Saturday September 10, 7:30 p.m., UNCG Auditorium on Tate Street
    A concert to kick off the academic year’s “War and Peace Imagined” collaboration within the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

  • Capture/Rapture/Rupture” Reception
    Wednesday September 14, 6 p.m., Greensboro College, Cowan Art Building
    An exhibit focusing on imagery of vanishing species of birds, simians and higher-order species that can be seen as “like us.” The exhibit will be on display during regular gallery hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays through Oct. 14. Admission is free.

  • Artist Talk: Hank Willis Thomas
    Thursday September 15, 7 p.m., Weatherspoon Art Museum
    Visiting Artist Hank Willis Thomas will discuss his exhibit Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015, and place the series in the context of his other projects that address race and social action. The talk is free but ticketed.

  • Brass Roots Trio
    Friday September 16, 7:30 p.m., Greensboro College, Gail Brower Huggins Performance Center
    The Brass Roots Trio — trumpet, French horn and piano — create symphonic sounds that melt into sultry jazz.

  • Tate Street Festival
    Sunday September 18, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tate Street Business District
    Music, food and more than 60 vendors, selling jewelry, painting, photography, sculpture, pottery, organic health and beauty products, handmade clothing, hats, fine crafts, vintage clothing and furniture, stained glass and unique works of art. And the official College Hill T-shirt.

Click here for the full September calendar page.

Don’t forget the regular Tuesday events

  • In*Spire Meditation group
    Tuesdays, noon, Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 South Mendenhall Street, in the Sanctuary. The meditation period is less than an hour and is open to the public.
  • Noon at the ‘Spoon
    Second Tuesday each month, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Spring Garden Street at Tate Street, a 20-minute exploration of a new exhibition. This month: the WAM sculpture garden.
  • Taco Tuesday Beginners Bike Ride
    Tuesdays, rolling at 6:30 p.m., ReCycles, 908-A Spring Garden Street
    A social ride, an opportunity to meet new riders who wish to get outside and maybe work up to longer rides over the course of the summer. Initially, the ride will be averaging around 6-10 miles, no-drop, at a pace averaging around 10+, then building through the summer.  Afterward, the Bandito Burrito Food Truck is at South Mendenhall and Spring Garden on Tuesdays.
Posted in Events, Greensboro College, Tate Street, UNCG, UNCG College of Visual and Performing Arts, Weatherspoon Art Museum | Leave a comment

Just published: Hong Kong House Cook Book

cover of the Hong Kong House Cook Book“Recipes, stories, photos, and memories from a favorite local Greensboro, N.C., restaurant. Hong Kong House was located in the College Hill neighborhood business area, near the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Greensboro College. A popular meeting place for lunch or dinner, Amelia Leung and her staff served up quality healthy food with a side of love. No one was a stranger there. ”
         — Amazon book page

If you didn’t know College Hill in the days of the Hong Kong House, you missed the best restaurant Tate Street has ever seen. It closed in 1999, but now a long-in-the-making book is giving Amelia Leung’s customers a chance to recreate the great food she served there. The Hong Kong House Cook Book was published this week and is available through Amazon.

Read all about it:

Posted in Businesses, Tate Street | Tagged , | Leave a comment

In memorium: Dr. W. Barnes Tatum, former College Hill neighbor

headshot of Dr. Barnes TatumDr. W. Barnes Tatum died Friday at Beacon Place in Greensboro. He was 78. Barnes was professor emeritus of religion at Greensboro College, where he taught for 36 years. He retired in 2009 as the Jefferson Pilot Professor of Religion and Philosophy.

Barnes and his wife, Linda, bought their home at 1112 West McGee Street in 1993.

From a news release issued by the college:

“As a colleague, Barnes was generous with his time, his advice, and his humor,” recalled another former Religion Department colleague, John Woell.

“Barnes was a scholar not just of New Testament, which he was, too, but of life. … He took the same open, critical eye to everything and exemplified liberal learning.”

As a scholar, Tatum was active in the work of the Jesus Seminar, Westar Institute, a group of several dozen scholars and lay people founded in 1985 and devoted to determining whether the sayings and acts of Jesus were historical fact. In that capacity, he wrote “John the Baptist and Jesus: A Report of the Jesus Seminar” in 1994.

He also published several other books, including “In Quest of Jesus,” “Jesus at the Movies,” and “Jesus: A Brief History,” and his books have been used as texts at numerous colleges and universities. …

His interest in the depiction of Jesus in film led him to be featured as a commentator on American Movie Classics (AMC), the History Channel, the BBC, and EO Television.  

Click here for a news report and an obituary, both from the News & Record.

Posted in Greensboro College, McGee Street, Neighbors | Tagged | Leave a comment

Notes on August CHNA agenda, Neighborhood Watch update

intersection of tate and spring garden

The best view of Tate Street is from that window on the Weatherspoon’s second floor.

The neighborhood association will hold its regular monthly meeting tonight (Monday August 29), 7 p.m., in the Fellowship Hall of the Church of the Covenant. Two COA applications will be discussed. A new idea for how to administer the neighborhood’s Municipal Service District funds is on the agenda as well. …

There’s a window on the second floor of the Weatherspoon Art Museum right at the corner of Tate and Spring Garden. Go up and look down toward Tate for a remarkable view of the business district. And check out the two Matisse exhibits while you’re there. …

If you’re looking for an office in the neighborhood, the Church of the Covenant has one for rent (336-275-6403). … Three condos are now for sale in the historic Wafco Mills building, a relatively high number compared to the past couple years at least. … The owner of 508 Cedar Street has taken the house of the market. That’s the green one at Cedar and Spring Garden. …

How many Airbnb rentals are there in College Hill? Probably five, but it’s hard to tell. The website’s list doesn’t give addresses (until you actually make a reservation, I guess), and its map is somewhat jumbled. One College Hill rental is on the map twice, and one shown as being on Fulton Street includes a picture of an apartment complex that definitely isn’t in College Hill. …

Burglary reported on McGee Street

Neighborhood Watch notes: A burglary was reported last Thursday, August 25, in the 900 block of West McGee Street. The police report isn’t available online, but the police website shows that one Benjamin Alan Pegram was arrested in connection with the burglary. The sheriff’s website indicates he’s now that as of August 28 he was being held in jail on several charges. A docket for Guilford County Superior Court dated August 15 shows a person with the same name was already due in court next month on charges of felony breaking and entering with intent to injure or terrorize and misdemeanor assault on a female. Pegram is 19 and lives in High Point, according to a public records website. …

The only crimes reported in the past four weeks (as of August 28) in College Hill have been that burglary, an assault at The Province (no police report online) and three DUIs. … Since the students returned to UNCG for the fall, campus police arrests have included one for assault on a female and three for marijuana possession. …

Posted in Cedar Street, Neighborhood Watch, Neighbors, Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Public Safety, Real Estate, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street, The Province, UNCG, Wafco Mills, Weatherspoon Art Museum | Leave a comment