HAWS’ H.A.G.

Hairy Audacious Goals (HAGs) are exactly what they sound like – goals that, on the surface, are so outrageous they seem unattainable. A classic example would be President Kennedy’s “we choose to go to the moon in this decade” quote, but there are plenty of goals here on Earth that seem equally audacious. One of those could very well be figuring out how to revitalize a depressed section of just about any city in America, and that’s why the Winston-Salem Journal’s editorial board seems to be encouraged by (PTAA member) Housing Authority of Winston-Salem’s Cleveland Area Master Plan:

The transformative idea? That public housing, in the way that we know it, is the problem. Concentrating low-income people in one area is an outdated model that can cause a neighborhood to decline, Woods said. And relying on government entirely is also no longer desirable. “We must have private investment and we must make a return on our investment so we can fund the next project,” said Katrina Redmon, chief financial officer for HAWS.

The Cleveland Area Plan covers about 130 acres along Cleveland and Highland avenues between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and 21st Street. The area is spotted with vacant lots, abandoned buildings and two large housing projects, Cleveland Avenue Homes and Sunrise Towers. The plan calls for a mix of houses, garden apartments, retail businesses and parks with those who receive public-housing assistance spread out and living among homeowners. The Housing Authority’s board approved the plan last summer, and last month the Winston-Salem City Council endorsed it.

“What we’re looking for is for (the Cleveland Avenue neighborhood) to become a distinct community of its own with its own personality that will attract a wide range of families and individuals who will become stakeholders,” Woods said.