My tour of West Charlotte has taken me through Seversville, Biddleville, Wesley Heights and Greater Enderly Park. Each time, I have met kind people excited to tell me about their neighborhood. All have been thrilled to have their story told.
The Camp Greene neighborhood, next one to explore, proved to be no exception. Its boundaries are Morehead, Freedom, Wilkinson and Weyland. You may have ventured into Camp Greene without even knowing it: Pinky’s Westside Grill, Dairy Queen, Bar-B-Q King and Reba’s Bar and Grill are all located in this community.
The neighborhood’s name, Camp Greene, comes from the WWI encampment that was located there from 1917-1919. Camp Greene was named for Revolutionary War hero General Nathanael Greene. The James C. Dowd House, camp headquarters, is the only visible remnant left from the camp.
The houses are bungalow style or ranch design. Most were built between the 1930s and 1950s. Homes are built on 1/4-1/2 acre lots and range from 900-1,200 square feet with a few exceptions. The condition of the house and level of renovation affects the price. Houses that need a major renovation have sold for less than $30,000 in recent years. A completely restored home can sell for more than $200,000. A new development, Bryant Park, features townhomes and single-family homes in the $200,000-$300,000 range.for an interview expecting to meet one or two residents from the Camp Greene neighborhood. Inste
Rudy and Cynthia Harrison – Both Harrisons have their own businesses; Rudy in information technology and Cynthia in marketing and design. They have lived in Camp Greene since 1986 and raised their three children there. Cynthia is vice president of the Historic Camp Greene Neighborhood Association.
Joshua and Jeff Prescott – Joshua works for an investment firm, and Jeff is a real estate broker. They have been in Camp Greene since 2013. Joshua is president of the neighborhood association.
Jeannette Edwards – Jeannette raised four children in the Camp Greene neighborhood. She has lived in her home since 1961. She works for an insurance agency.
These residents were eager to tell me about Camp Greene. Joshua and Cynthia have been working hard to revitalize and restructure the Historic Camp Greene Neighborhood Association. They participated in a city-sponsored retreat for neighborhood board members. At that retreat, they developed a vision for the association: preserving the past and protecting the future.
Since last year, the neighborhood association has increased participation in meetings and started neighborhood cleanups. They are also bringing back the Fall Festival, an annual event that was lost over the years. Association members want to find ways to engage all the residents in the neighborhood, whether they are homeowners or renters.
Short-term renters and absentee property owners not invested in the neighborhood have affected the vibe of the community. The group at Pinky’s agreed that long-time residents want renters and newcomers to care for their property, get involved in community activities and help make the neighborhood safe.
Right now, much of the neighborhood is rental property, but changes are slowly happening. Camp Greene’s location, its charm and affordable housing costs make it an attractive place to live.
Older homeowners are worried about this changing environment. They fear higher property taxes and code enforcement. This same concern has been repeated in my interviews with other West Charlotte community leaders. Connecting people to grant programs and other resources for costly home repairs and tax aid may be one of the solutions to keeping long-time residents in their homes.
Photos: Vanessa Infanzon, Joshua Prescott