When Michael Muhammad saw a band of neighbors armed with rakes, brooms and giant trash bags, he couldn't stand idly by.
Without changing out of his suit and bow tie, he donned a pair of plastic gloves and began picking up trash and raking leaves.Residents of Glenwood, particularly members of the area's neighborhood association, are hoping that others, just like Muhammad, will see the efforts to revive the area and join in.
"This is typical Glenwood," Sgt. J.P. Kimmel of the Greensboro Police Department said as neighbors cleaned. "It's a strong community."
Residents say that's the message they need to spread to the rest of the city.
"There's a misconception about this neighborhood," said Mojgan Jordan, president of the Greater Glenwood Neighborhood Association.
"We want people to realize it is a neighborhood, and we do feel safe here, and it's not the high crime area that some people make it out to be," she said.
The one-time heart of the neighborhood was Grove Street, a thriving business district once surrounded by what was considered an upper-middle class area. Glenwood's boundaries loosely stretch from West Lee Street south to Freeman Mill Road and from the coliseum east nearly to Tate Street.
In the '60s and '70s, as residents died or moved away, many of the homes became rentals and began to decline in value. Drug traders began appearing on the streets.
In recent years, families have begun to buy the rental homes and the neighborhood has become one of the most diverse in the city, with immigrants from dozens of countries calling Glenwood's 2,000 houses, home. And recently, these home-
owners decided to take back their streets.
Jordan said business owners and neighbors have worked with police in the past to clean out most of the neighborhood's trouble areas.
Business owners have shut down problematic shops and opened churches and teen centers in their place.
"This is really something positive," said Pastor Sheldon McCray, of New Birth Sounds of Thunder Christian Center, as he raked leaves. The center's location was a night club at one time.
Jordan said cleaning the leaves and trash off of Grove Street is the first step in a grand plan to restore the street to its original glory and bring, she hopes, shops, cafes, a drug store and even a grocery to the area.
Grove Street, Jordan said, has the potential to grow into a shopping area similar to those found on State Street and Walker Avenue.
"Everybody needs a store just to pick things up in, why wouldn't you go to your neighborhood store?" she said. "When you clean up an area and neighbors are willing to shop there, you start attracting different businesses. I just think it (Grove Street) hasn't been approached yet."
\ Contact Allison Perkins at 373-7157 or firstname.lastname@example.org