Frequently Asked Questions

Downtown is an exciting place to live. Most residents chose Downtown in order to be within walking distance to work, restaurants, shops, community festivals and cultural offerings. While Downtown is especially attractive to young professionals and “empty nesters” that no longer need the large home in the suburbs, the center city is also home to families with young children.

In less than a decade, Downtown’s residential population has doubled. Starting with a few homes located in the upper floors of historic buildings, DGI spearheaded the Downtown Residential Incentive Fund in 2006 to accelerate the momentum. This program helped to spur hundreds of new owner occupied residences in Downtown and received the highest award in innovation from the International Downtown Association in 2007.

Downtown’s residential options were also greatly expanded by the City’s Southside Redevelopment Project. This ten-acre site is in the southeast quadrant of Downtown and includes a mix of single family, townhouse and live/work homes. Although some buildings original to the neighborhood were preserved, most of the neighborhood is new construction. This neighborhood was won awards from the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Planning Association and the Sierra Club.

Living Downtown is different than most other neighborhoods. To be comfortable in the center city, people should know and accept the advantages and limitations with living in a mixed-use urban environment. This list is intended to answer common questions about living in Downtown and serve as a resource for residents.

Availability

Apartments and condominiums are located throughout the entire center city. Many apartments are in the upper floors of historic buildings and require research to finding information about leasing or purchasing. Major condo properties in Downtown include: Center Pointe, Arbor House, Smothers Place, Governors Court, 411 Washington, 220 West Market Street and Bellemeade Townhomes. Major apartments include Old Greensboro Court and City View. The Southside Neighborhood has a mix of single-family houses, townhomes and live/work units available for lease or sale.

Parking

Unlike other areas, Downtown does not require businesses or residents to create and provide parking for workers or residents. While some do provide parking, others rely on the shared use of public parking on the street, surface lots or decks.

On-street parking is often at a premium in Downtown because of the limited number of spaces, particularly in commercial areas. All on street parking spaces are regulated by meters or time restrictions. Most meters accept various denominations of coins and typically cost $1 for an hour. Timed parking is mostly along Elm Street and has a limit of 2 hours.

Loading zones are also part of the on-street parking system. These spaces are typically marked with yellow lines and provide convenient and safe locations for delivering or picking up items at nearby businesses. While residents and workers can use a loading zone for up to 30 minutes, some are designated as “truck only” and can only be used by large trucks. Be sure to note the sign at each loading zone to determine the accepted use.

The City of Greensboro owns and manages four parking decks in Downtown and seven surface lots. These facilities are generally available for hourly, daily or monthly parking and charge 50 cents per hour, with a daily maximum of $6 at the decks. For a list of City-owned garages and lots, download this PDF

City facilities, including on-street, off-street lots and garages, are all currently free after 6 p.m. Also of note with the City owned parking decks, users get the first hour of parking for free. This can be a great benefit if people are running a quick errand or attending a short meeting and unable to find an on-street space.

Festivals and Special Events

Downtown serves as the cultural center of the community and is host to many diverse festivals and special events. A number of smaller events including races, fun runs and walks also happen throughout the year. A sampling of outdoor events in Downtown includes:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • BB&T Beach Music in the Park concert series
  • Piedmont Blues Festival
  • Fun Fourth (July 4th holiday)
  • Run for the Greenway
  • North Carolina A&T Homecoming Parade
  • The Jaycees Holiday Parade
  • Festival of Lights

These events attract crowds from across the entire region. Residents should strive to be aware of all festivals and be prepared to deal with closed and re-routed streets, temporary elimination of parking, noise and large numbers of pedestrians and vehicles. Also note that festivals and special events must obtain an extra permit from the City.

Groceries

Downtown residents have a variety of options for grocery stores. Regional and national chains including Harris Teeter and Food Lion both have stores within three miles of Downtown.

Downtown currently has three convenience stores that can meet some needs of residents and workers. Downtown also currently has a market specializing in produce that is open six days a week. The Greensboro Curb Market is just outside of Downtown and is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Plans are in the works for a co-operative grocery story in Downtown that would specialize in healthy and organic products. The store is tentatively scheduled to open by 2012.

Organizations

Many residential properties in Downtown have a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) that work just like those in the suburbs. When considering a residence in Downtown, be sure to examine whether the property has an HOA.

While most organizations in Downtown are oriented to business interests, Downtown Greensboro Incorporated (DGI) is able to address both commercial and residential issues. DGI was created in 1997 and works to stimulate investment and activity in the center city. DGI is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and has positions slotted to residents. More information about DGI can be obtained by calling 379.0060 or viewing other parts of this website.

Almost all major religions have active congregations in Downtown. Residents can use this website to find listings for the places of worship.

Schools

Like other areas of the community, Downtown has attendance zones as part of the Guilford County School system. Most Downtown residents are assigned to the zones that track to Lindley Elementary, Kiser Middle School and Grimsley High.
Weaver Academy is a magnet school of the Guilford School system that is located in Downtown. The school showcases two extraordinary educational programs: a school for students to immerse themselves in the performing and visual arts, and a school for students to launch into advanced technology career pathways.
Elon University School of Law is the newest educational asset in Downtown. This accredited law school is located on Greene Street and has over 300 students.

Public Safety

The City of Greensboro Police Department has four geographic divisions and Downtown is part of the Central Division. Like all urban areas, safety is an important issue in the center city. Residents should know that Downtown is well patrolled and has a low crime rate. Even with the safe environment, residents, workers and visitors should still use good judgment and common sense regarding personal and property safety.

Officers patrol Downtown on bikes, segways and cars. Many bike patrol officers have relationships with business owners and the people within the center city.

The City of Greensboro also has a homeless population similar to other communities. The homeless are part of the urban environment and deserve compassion from Downtown residents, workers and visitors. Many groups, including the City of Greensboro, neighborhood churches, non-profit organizations and others work to ease the plight of the homeless by providing and/or donating time, money and services. If approached by panhandlers, residents are encouraged to avoid giving cash to individuals and instead offer food or water. For those wishing to do more, cash donations should be made to groups that can better help break the cycle of homelessness such as Urban Ministries of the Interactive Resource Center.

Garbage and Trash Disposal

The proper disposal of garbage and trash is essential in Downtown. Where feasible, residents should place trash or garbage in dumpsters, alleys or other areas away from public view.

Sanitation crews collect along Elm Street four times per day. Other areas of Downtown are collected at least once per week, with some areas receiving daily service. Residents can obtain information about collection days and times by contacting the City’s Sanitation Department at 373.2035.

In addition, DGI also operates the Clean and Green Team. This team works seven days a week to address cleanliness and maintenance issues in Downtown. They pick up litter, remove graffiti, water plants and perform other similar duties.

Noise

Downtown has a mixture of residential, recreational and commercial uses. This mix creates an exciting and energetic urban environment; however, noise conflicts do occasionally arise. The City of Greensboro has a noise ordinance and a special events permit process to help manage noise and balance the needs of these different users.

While the legal definition of “loud” is defined in technical terms within the ordinance, the intent is to prevent loud noises from disturbing surrounding businesses and residents during certain time of the day or night. The regulations are designed to minimize noises caused by construction, special events and similar activities from beginning before 7 a.m. or extending after 11 p.m.

Despite these regulations, Downtown has its share of ambient noise. The train tracks are quite active with both passenger and freight traffic at all hours of the day. As the trains use loud horns for safety, the noise can be heard in many parts of Downtown. In addition, fire and police vehicles routinely travel through Downtown on their way to other calls with sirens blaring. Noise can also occur for residents living near nightclubs as closing time occurs at 2 a.m.

Pet Waste

The proper disposal of pet waste is an important issue in Downtown. Many residents have pets that must be walked on a regular basis. City law mandates that pets must be on a leash and that the owner must clean up after their pet. Pet waste stations are placed in strategic areas throughout Downtown and offer free bags and a special receptacle. If no station is nearby, owners should also be equipped to pick-up and dispose of any pet waste.

Reference Information

Fire or Police Emergency                               911
Downtown Greensboro Incorporated             336.379.0060
Clean and Green Team                                  336.456.9133
City Information                                           336.373.CITY
Parking                                                        336.373.2568
Sanitation                                                    336.373.2035