Raleigh’s wasteland: older than you think

I’d like to remind the INDY that 10 years ago Raleigh was not a “wasteland” (“A requiem for Tiny Town” June 17). That was 20 years ago and we are all getting quite old 🙂

Sean Korb, Raleigh

Durham’s shit-storm of condo-plexes

How many more condo developments are going to go up with zero commercial or retail space on the street level? What ever happened to all that talk about activating the street and sidewalks for a better city?

Instead we are getting a shitstorm of multi-story condoplexes going up with nothing on the street level. There are many ways to do a lot better than that in terms of development and planning if we expect Durham to be an interesting place.

In addition to the need for affordable housing, which doesn’t seem to be getting addressed in more than a superficial way, what is being lost is the opportunity to create something approaching affordable commercial space for the many small and micro-scale independent businesses. They used to be a hallmark of Durham but increasingly seem doomed as they are pushed out/priced out and totally left out of the equation (with the exception of those who could buy buildings before the boom).

New development needs to have commercial and retail spaces on the ground floor, especially in a downtown neighborhood. The city and Downtown Durham Inc., should be working with developers to help ensure these kind of spaces would be diverse and local and not just corporate crap like Moe’s Grill, Starbucks, Chipotle.

I have run my graphic design, letterpress printing and book production company Horse & Buggy Press from 401 Foster St., from within the Bull City Arts Collaborative, which I co-founded, since 2005. We’ll see where the next workspace for H&B is when our lease ends in 2017. It would be nice to see development and our changing Durham be inclusive so micro-sized businesses like H&B, and other small companies could continue to run a business in Durham and be around for citizens who might expect more from their town than condos, bars/restaurants and tech startups.

Dave Wofford, Durham