Project Background

An area on the urban fringe of east Greensboro, North Carolina, is identified in the city's Connections 2025 Comprehensive Plan as a future Activity Center. Several key assets in the study area, tentatively referred to as Innovation Village, offer great potential for the development of a new hub of community in east Greensboro. However, with no specific plan addressing the area's unique conditions and needs, development has occurred in a largely uncoordinated manner and in a predominately suburban form.

At the heart of the area lie large tracts of publicly held property, including Barber Park, Gateway Gardens, the Gateway University Research Park, and the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) Farm. Extending from Interstate 40 at the southern end of the study area/city boundary, the newly branded East Gate City Boulevard is a major thoroughfare and runs west directly through downtown Greensboro.

There are numerous challenges. The city asked APA's Community Planning Assistance Team program to help it craft a "plan for planning" that charts a course for developing the area as an Activity Center. A CPAT team will engage residents and stakeholders to begin work on creating a shared vision.

East Gateway, Greensboro, North Carolina

Community Planning Assistance Team Report

With no unifying vision for the study area in East Greensboro, which has temporarily been called Innovation Village and identified as a future Activity Center in the city's comprehensive plan, the team developed a "plan for planning." The report is divided into four main sections: public engagement; economic development and housing strategies; the built form; and governance structure.

A study area map for the 2017 CPAT in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Project Updates

Team leader Jeff Taebel, FAICP, and APA programs manager Ryan Scherzinger conducted an initial site visit May 17–18, 2017. They toured the study area and met a wide range of stakeholders.

The full team's visit occurred December 7–11, 2017.

The city requested an additional visit following a deadly EF-2 tornado in April 2018 that affected much of the study area. Team leader Jeff Taebel, FAICP, visited in July 2018 to discuss implications for the study area.

Meet the Team


Team Leader

Jeff Taebel, FAICP

Jeff Taebel is director of community and environmental planning at Houston-Galveston Area Council where he oversees the agency's community enhancement, environmental planning, disaster recovery, economic development, socioeconomic modeling, and sustainable development initiatives. He has 34 years of experience in urban and regional planning, including 29 in his current position. Actively involved in community service, professional development, and planning education, Taebel is a former President of APA's Texas Chapter and in 2008 was inducted as a Fellow of AICP. Taebel holds a Master of Urban Planning from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences from the University of Nebraska.
  • Team Member

    Kimberly Bares

    As president and founder of PLACE Consulting, Kimberly Bares draws on her community and economic development experience to design and implement urban revitalization strategies and tools. Bares's expertise in development, TIFs, BIDs, commercial district planning, governance and strategic planning make her an engaging speaker on the future of America's urban areas. Bares is a sought-after interim leader and executive leadership consultant, having transformed 10 organizations on an interim basis since 2012. Before forming PLACE Consulting, she was the executive director of several organizations, focusing on economic development, community organizing, and housing development in Baltimore and the Chicago area. She has a Master of Urban Planning and Policy degree from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University.
  • Team Member

    Triveece Penelton, AICP

    Triveece Penelton is a city planner and public involvement innovator at Vireo. She is also the creator of the Digicate® software application for community engagement, which Vireo powers and uses as part of its community engagement services. The local, county, state, and regional projects that she manages blend community planning with intensive public engagement, education, information sharing, and messaging. Prior to joining Vireo, Penelton served as a long-range planner with the City of Kansas City, Missouri's Planning and Development Department in its Planning, Preservation and Urban Design Division. While at the city, she was responsible for planning activities happening in Kansas City's Urban Core (approximate 21 square miles in size).
  • Team Member

    Joanne L. Shelly, AICP, RLA, LEED BD+C

    Joanne Shelly has worked in A/E design and development for over 20 years and has a range of project experience, from master planning to site design and construction, and has led project teams in-house, across town, and internationally. She is currently completing her master's degree in community and economic development because she enjoys facilitating the collaboration between communities and development professionals and empowering stakeholders to promote sustainable growth. The triple bottom line has been the basis of her design and development work. Shelly understands the challenges of balancing scope, schedules, and budgets and has been able to do so without sacrificing the components (economics, environment, and culture) of a sustainable design. Her current mobility study has provided an opportunity to study, design, and develop transportation projects with a sustainable impact. Shelly believes in mentoring young professionals and is currently a member of the Urban Land Institute's Women in Leadership Initiative.