Fitness on the Greenway resumes June 2 at Morehead Park with social distancing; bring your own mat and water bottle

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Following up on the fire at 923 Carr Street on May 13: Firefighters ID the origin, but not cause; house damage 50%

The fire appears to have started on the back porch.

The Greensboro Fire Department has determined that the fire at 923 Carr Street started at the back porch, but the specific cause hasn’t been identified. The report estimates damage to the structure at $44,145, 50 percent of its previous value. Damage to the Chen family’s possessions was estimated at $13,243.

The first call reporting the fire came in at 4:49 a.m. on May 13. The first fire truck is listed as arriving at 4:55. All members of the family had been able to get outside.

The subsequent investigation identified two possible causes of the fire on the back porch, an issue that remains under investigation. The fire department’s report was obtained through a public records request to the city. Here’s the narrative section:

05/13/2020 16:22:38

Car 1 was dispatched reference a possible structure fire along with additional units. Communications advised that they were receiving multiple calls and reports indicated that the structure was fully involved.

Engine 4 arrived first at dispatched address finding a single story residence with heavy fire showing from the roof. Engine 4 assumed Command and initiated operations in an offensive mode. Engine 4 established water supply and performed a blitz attack with deck gun knocking down most of the fire. Engine 5 and Engine 8 were assigned to protect exposures bravo [the left side of the house] and charlie [the back] then moved inside to extinguish rest of fire. Ladder 5 was assigned to Search by Command. Car 1 arrived and took transfer of Command from Engine 4 assigning them as Fire Attack with Engine 5 and Engine 8 assisting. Ladder 11 was assigned as RIT [rapid intervention team for the rescue of firefighters in trouble] and Rescue 5 was assigned to protect exposure on the delta [right] side. Units worked and were able to bring fire under control and no one or pet was found in the home. Air 1 was on scene to provided rehab to working units.

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas were requested and responded to control their perspective utility. The occupants declined assistance from the American Red Cross. Fire and Life Safety assisted Car 33 in determining the cause of the fire which remains under investigation. Car 1 performed shift change on scene between assigned personnel.

05/19/2020 07:38:25

Based upon the information available at the time of this report and after conducting a systematic fire scene examination, inspecting the physical evidence, reviewing photographs and witness observation, timeline analysis and employing the scientific method by means of formulating and discarding hypotheses; it is the opinion of Investigator B.H. Crump that the fire was undetermined due to multiple possible causes of ignition in the area of origin. The area of origin was determined to be on the back porch. With a mass loss and direction of fire travel on the wall studs and saddle burning to the floor joist. There was discarded smoking material being placed in a plastic container and a 240 outlet with oxidation, and damage to the wires. These area were located in two separate areas. Heavy charring to wall studs, mass loss at the lowest portion near the 240 outlet, the extent of damage to that area and other ordinary combustibles on the porch, and patterns point back to two possible areas the fire ignited.

The fate of the house is unknown. Workers there this week indicated that the owner plans to demolish it, possibly within days. That work would require a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission; no application for a COA had been received, Mike Cowhig of the city’s Historic District Program said earlier this week. By law, the commission cannot prevent an owner from demolishing a building in a historic district, but it can order a 365-day waiting period.

Several neighbors have expressed interest in buying the property if the owner sells it.

Click here to see the full fire department report.

The roof of the house was essentially destroyed.
Posted in Carr Street, Fire, Public Safety | Leave a comment

Fire severely damages Carr Street house; no one injured

923 Carr Street with its roof burned away after the fire
923 Carr Street after the fire early Wednesday, May 13

A fire caused major damage to a house at 923 Carr Street early this morning. It apparently began around 4 or 4:30 a.m. The family that was renting the house was able to escape without injury, but they were forced out with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Neighbors provided shoes and additional clothing. The family said they had relatives with whom they could stay.

Firefighters worked for about two hours to put the fire out. Afterward, the full extent of the damage was unknown, but the metal roof appeared to be almost completely gone. The fire appeared to have started at the back of the house, firefighters said. The cause was not immediately known. The house was built in 1910.

Across a shared driveway, the neighboring house at 925 Carr suffered minor damage from the heat of the fire. 921 Carr, which is extremely close to 923, may have suffered superficial damage as well but did not catch fire.

Fires are fairly rare in College Hill. A fire in an apartment at 919 Spring Garden Street caused extensive damage several years ago. The city, Preservation Greensboro and the College Hill Neighborhood Association worked together to find a buyer to restore the house and convert it back into single-family residence. A house at 824 Rankin Place was destroyed by fire in 1999; a new house was built on the lot last year. A New Year’s Day fire damaged an upstairs apartment at 307 S. Mendenhall about 20 years ago.

firefighters begin leaving after the fire was extinuished
Greensboro firefighters spent about two hours putting out the fire at 923 Carr Street

Posted in Carr Street | Tagged | 1 Comment

Spring Garden Street reopens after overpass repair project; bridge work complete on Tate and Fulton streets as well

bridges over spring garden street
Spring Garden Street at Morehead Park, reopened on Friday May 8

Spring Garden Street was reopened Friday, seven months after being closed for repairs to the Edgeworth and Spring street overpass bridges. The city closed the street at Morehead Park around October 1 for what was scheduled to be a 90-day project.

The murals on the overpass piers were largely wiped out by the repair work. Action Greensboro says it plans to restore the work, called ColorHaus. (Action Greensboro photo)

Fortunately for the relative few drivers still motoring around the neighborhood these days, bridge projects on Tate and Fulton Streets were completed in a more timely manner (about a week in both cases). Both bridges have been cleaned up and painted after being ignored for decades.

The Tate Street bridge got a coat of Spartan blue and gold.
Railroad bridge over Fulton Street
Posted in City Government, Downtown Greenway, Fulton Street, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street, Traffic, UNCG | Leave a comment

Railroad tracks being taken up along Greensboro College; Downtown Greenway construction could begin this year

area at McGee Street where tracks have been taken up
Railroad tracks have been removed at McGee and Cedar streets, across from Wafco Mill

A contractor for Norfolk Southern is removing the railroad tracks from Spring Garden Street to West Market. The work is in preparation for construction of the western section of the Downtown Greenway. The greenway will follow the boundary of the neighborhood alongside the Greensboro College campus.

Design is complete for the section, which will use the railbed from Spring Garden to Smith Street, and for the portion of the Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway from Smith Street to Benjamin Parkway. Dabney Sanders, Action Greensboro’s project manager for the greenway, expects to seek bids for construction in August with a start date late this year or early 2021.

Posted in Cedar Street, Downtown Greenway, Greensboro College, Market Street, McGee Street, Spring Garden Street | 2 Comments

Tate Street closed at Oakland Avenue for overpass project; Spring Garden still blocked for work on Spring Street overpass

Maintenance on the railroad overpass on Tate Street is scheduled to be completed this week. Click on any of the photos to see them larger.
maintenance work underway on Tate Street railroad overpass
A look behind the barricade shows the underpass getting a long overdue paint job as part of the maintenance project.

With traffic at historic lows, the city is taking advantage of the lull to conduct street maintenance. Tate Street closed between Spring Garden and Gate City Boulevard on April 11 for work on the railroad overpass. The work is scheduled to be completed this week. The project follows what appears to be similar work on the other side of campus on Josephine Boyd Street between Spring Garden and Gate City. That work is now complete.

On Spring Garden, the street remains closed near downtown at Spring Street for maintenance on the overpass. The project began in October and was scheduled to take three months. Work is still under way after seven. A construction manager at the site said Tuesday it could be finished by the end of May.

Work continues on the Spring Garden Street overpass, now four months beyond the expected completion date for what was scheduled to be three months work.
Posted in City Government, Oakland Avenue, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street, Traffic | Leave a comment

A swarm of honey bees is rounded up on Carr Street

Beekeeper David Millsaps examines a branch holding hundreds of bees before dropping them into his bee box on Carr Street on Friday.

A swarm of hundreds of honey bees settled in a front yard on Carr Street late Friday afternoon, on their way to a new place to live. A bush at 924 Carr provided an opportune spot to take a rest. Before the little pollinators were ready to take off and resume the search, College Hill beekeeper and good neighbor David Millsaps arrived to round them up and add them to his hives.

David said honey bees swarm when a hive gets too crowded and a group leaves to find a new home. This swarm arrived around mid-afternoon and formed a massive, loudly buzzing vortex near the bush where they gradually settled. Most of the bees formed a core several feet in diameter and several feet high with others orbiting as far out as the street and the porch of the house next door. It shrank down to nothing over the course of 30 minutes or so as the bees settled down upon each other in the bush. Swarming honey bees aren’t aggressive and won’t attack unless they feel threatened, David said while he collected them.

David explains the process to homeowners Lynn Gagnier and Dave Hemm.
David checks a frame that still contains honey from an earlier hive. The honey will nourish the swarm, which needs food after its flight in search of a new place to live.
The first step is to trim some branches to reach the resting swarm.
The inner branches holding the bees get clipped and dropped down to the bee box.
Once most of the bees have settled into the box, David replaces the last frame.
As he brushes a few stragglers out of his hair, David and the swarm are ready to go.
Posted in Animals, Carr Street | Tagged | 2 Comments

State Historic Preservation Office features College Hill’s 1919 firehouse as an example of using tax credits for rehabilitation

One of the old firehouses on South Mendenhall Street is highlighted in the latest newsletter from the State Historic Preservation Office as an example of historic rehabilitation facilitated by the use of state and federal tax credits. It stands at 442 S. Mendenhall Street. The building was once known as Greensboro Fire Station No. 5 and earlier as the West End Hose Company. It replaced an older firehouse half a block away, now the home of Firehouse Grocery.

This 1919 fire station was erected within the College Hill Historic District to house one of the city’s new motorized fire trucks first put into service in 1913. It served as the second home of Fire Station No. 5 until it moved to a new, much larger facility in 1964. The station was then converted into a residence, and this 2018 rehabilitation continues its use as a single-family residence. This project was spurred by the use of the federal and state historic income-producing tax credits with a private investment rehabilitation cost of $144,000.

— “Worth Saving,” the SHPO’s quarterly newsletter

Click here to see the entire newsletter.

About historic tax credits

Tax credits are available for two types of structures — owner-occupied and income-producing. Homeowners can apply for a 15 percent state tax credit on up to $150,000 in expenses ($10,000 minimum) on qualified rehabilitation projects for the home they occupy. Houses are eligible if they’re on the National Register of Historic Places or are contributing structures in National Register historic districts (College Hill is a National Register historic district). The work must meet The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. The SHPO decides whether projects qualify for tax credits. It’s complicated, so homeowners should consult with the agency before beginning work.

Owners of income-producing properties can apply for both a 20 percent federal tax credit and a 15 percent state tax credit on qualifying, “substantial” rehabilitation projects. The SHPO is the gate-keeper on these, too, and should be consulted in advance of any work because, just like with owner-occupied projects, there are a million ways to go wrong and possibly not qualify.

At the state level, historic rehabilitation tax credits have been a political pinata for several years. They currently have a sunset date of January 1, 2023, but they could disappear at the drop of a Republican hat any time the Legislature is in session. So the first step is always to make sure they still exist.

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Closings and changes in hours for College Hill businesses: They need your support today to survive the coronavirus

To whatever extent you can, please support our local businesses as they struggle to survive. Here’s the current status of businesses in College Hill. Please send any updates or corrections to via email. This list will be updated on the Businesses page.

Closed until further notice

  • Coffeeology
  • College Hill Sundries
  • Tate Street Coffee
  • Weatherspoon Art Museum

Open with reduced hours or other limitations

  • FedEx Office — Only 10 customers allowed inside at a time
  • Firehouse Grocery — Now closing at midnight
  • Parts Unknown — Limited hours: Monday-Saturday, Noon to 5, Sunday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Re:Cycles — Open by appointment only (contact via email)
  • Sisters on Tate — The store is closed, but is still open for business.

Open as usual

  • College Mart
  • Leon’s
  • Two Geeks

Takeout and delivery

Call for information

  • Boutique Hypnotica — 336-333-2346
  • Don Japanese Restaurant — 336-370-9866
  • May Way Dumplings — 336-291-8481
Posted in Businesses, Mendenhall Street, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street, Walker Avenue | Leave a comment

Guilford’s only documented lynching occurred in College Hill; Community Remembrance Project will present information and plans on Wednesday March 18

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, established by the Equal Justice Initiative

Update: The meeting has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. A new date will be posted here when it is set.

The Guilford County Community Remembrance Project will present an informational session next week about their work on the Eugene Hairston lynching, the only documented lynching in Guilford County. The session will be held Wednesday, March 18, at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Fellowship Hall, 501 S. Mendenhall Street. The church has a weekly potluck that begins at 6 p.m.; the presentation will follow, from about 6:45 to 7:30 p.m.

Please RSVP to 336-275-6403 or via email. For those preferring to attend only the presentation, it will follow dinner and is expected to begin at approximately 6:45 pm and end by 7:30 pm.

This information is from Terry Hammond of the Guilford County Community Remembrance Project:

We are working to bring awareness to the legacy of lynching and racial terror in Guilford County. In the only documented lynching in Guilford County, Eugene Hairston, a 17-year-old African-American from Kernersville, was accused of assaulting a white 17-year old woman from Colfax. He was “taken into the suburbs of the city, in the neighborhood of Mr. Jackson’s farm and hanged near the little brick school house,” the Greensboro Morning News reported on August 26, 1887. After months of research, the location has been determined to be close to the present day Presbyterian Church of the Covenant and Jackson Street/Walker Avenue.

cover of the EJI report Lynching in America

Click image to read the EJI report “Lynching in America”

Working with the Equal Justice Initiative, the remembrance project will collect soil from the lynching site in May to be included in EJI’s Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. It also will erect a historical marker about the Hairston lynching and more general information about lynching in the United States. In addition, the project will create a memorial site for a monument that will duplicate the one at the National Memorial for Peace & Justice in Montgomery, which is waiting to be claimed by Guilford County.

Our coalition will be presenting an informational session about our work so far and our plans for the Soil Collection ceremony at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant (to be held in early May) on Wednesday, March 18, in the Fellowship Hall. The church has a weekly potluck that begins at 6 p.m.; our presentation will follow, from about 6:45 to 7:30 p.m.

Please RSVP to 336-275-6403 or via email. For those preferring to attend only the presentation, it will follow dinner and is expected to begin at approximately 6:45 pm and end by 7:30 pm.)

We invite members of the College Hill Neighborhood Association to attend this event.

Here are links to some of our recent media coverage: Editorial in the News & Record, Our Opinion: Light unto darkness, and front-page features in the News and Record and Triad City Beat

Posted in Jackson Street, Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Walker Avenue | Tagged | Leave a comment