When Action Greensboro was formed in 2001, Greensboro’s center city was a natural choice for one of its focuses. The character and architectural quality of the downtown National Register commercial district make an important contribution to the city’s sense of identity and play a unique role in economic development. A lively entertainment, cultural and shopping district, the Center City also appeals to people wanting to live in the hustle and bustle of downtown.
We have invested in the following projects that build on Greensboro’s strengths.
Center City Master Plans
In 2002, Action Greensboro created and began implementation of Center City Master Plan. This plan introduced major downtown investments, including the Downtown Greenway, Center City Park and the Baseball Stadium. $750,000 was invested over three years.
Since then, several center city plans have created by or in collaboration with Action Greensboro, including:
- 2003 Downtown Housing Study
- 2004 Cultural District Strategic Plan
- 2005 South Elm Redevelopment Plan
- 2005 Cedar Street Plan
- 2006 Cultural Center Strategic Plan
- 2006 Parking Study
- 2007 Greensboro Children’s Museum Master Plan
- 2008 Retail Market Analysis
- 2008 Church Street Investment Corridor
- 2008 Carousel Initiative
- 2009 Phase1 Renovation of Festival Park
- 2009 Action Greensboro Phase 2 Center City as a Robust Hub
- 2010 Greensboro Downtown Economic Development Strategy (Consolidated Plan)
Action Greensboro’s center city projects began with construction of First National Bank Park, home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers Class A minor league baseball team, which opened in the spring of 2005. The ballpark on North Eugene Street, which seats 7,500, replaced the offices of the Guilford County Department of Public Health, making it possible to consolidate the Health Department and the Department of Social Services in new state-of-the-art quarters on Maple Street. First National Band Park represents a $20 million Action Greensboro investment in the center city.
Elon Law School
In 2004, the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation and Elon University spearheaded a campaign to raise start-up funding to locate Elon University School of Law in downtown Greensboro. The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation and several other foundations, corporations and individuals participated in a successful drive to provide the $10 million needed to supplement Elon funding for the launch of the school. In the fall of 2006, Elon University School of Law opened with 115 students enrolled to form the law school’s inaugural class.
Click here to learn more about the Elon University School of Law.
Center City Park
In the fall of 2005 construction began on Center City Park, Action Greensboro’s second Center City project. The 1.9 acre park opened in December 2006 and today is alive with free community programming and is a hub for community activities and celebrations. The Park also welcomes visitors simply wishing to socialize, have lunch, watch the fountain, or relax in a green retreat. Friends of Center City Park, formed in 2007, providing additional funds for Park programming and enhancements through membership contributions. Center City Park represents a $12 million Action Greensboro investment in the Center City.
In December 2016, Center City Park was gifted to the City of Greensboro to combine management of Center City and LeBauer Parks through the public-private partnership, Greensboro Downtown Parks Inc.
About LeBauer Park:
Through the generous bequest from Carolyn LeBauer, LeBauer Park open in August of 2016. LeBauer Park is the result of a powerful public-private partnership between The Community Foundation and the City of Greensboro, working with local stakeholders and national experts in urban landscape design and park programming.
About Greensboro Downtown Parks Inc.
To better fulfill the potential for Center City Park and LeBauer Parks, Greensboro Downtown Parks Inc. a public-private partnership was created. The mission of GDPI is to serve as the executive management of Greensboro’s downtown parks, focusing public activation, maintenance, financial well-being and overall vitality.
Action Greensboro is currently planning and constructing its third major Center City project, the Downtown Greenway, in collaboration with the City of Greensboro.
Greensboro’s Downtown Greenway is a planned 4-mile paved urban trail for walking and biking that will define Greensboro’s Center City and serve as the hub for the community’s system of trails and greenways. With the goal of encouraging private economic development, it will enhance the urban landscape with a green space that will promote fitness, connectedness, and well-being for both our residents and visitors in an aesthetically pleasing environment. The Downtown Greenway connects neighborhoods and tells our community stories through a significant program of public art.
Roughly 3/4 mile of the Downtown Greenway is complete and open, with other sections under construction now. Click here to access the map.
Click here to read more about the Greensboro Downtown Greenway.
Union Square Campus
Union Square Campus is a key initiative of Opportunity Greensboro and brings together institutions currently located outside of the central business district on their own separate campuses (Cone Health, GTCC, NC A&T, and UNCG). Uniting academic programs in downtown will increase exposure for the participating institutions – and of Greensboro itself – creating visibility and interest extending beyond the immediate activity at the downtown campus. The first campus building focuses on training and education for healthcare professions (primarily nursing) and opened in August 2016. The 85,000 square foot building cost $34 million, which includes land, infrastructure, parking, and equipment. The campus is a cornerstone of the broader Union Square at South Elm project and serve as a stimulus for surrounding mixed-use private development.
In 2014, Action Greensboro and the Greensboro Chamber opened co//ab, a co-working, entrepreneurial, and higher education experiential learning center located in downtown Greensboro. Set in a 4,800-square-foot space generously provided by Elon University, co//ab’s home features Greensboro’s first early stage entrepreneur co-working / higher education experiential learning space, gigabit Internet connection as well as Elon’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Co//ab currently has an active and growing membership, in addition to weekly events for the entrepreneurial community provided by Launch Greensboro. Co//ab represents a 100K Action Greensboro investment in the center city.