DuBois out as Creative Corridors eliminates position

Russell DuBois
The Creative Corridors Coalition, a nonprofit organization set up to engage Winston-Salem citizens in enhancing the aesthetic quality of major downtown roadways in tandem with major renovations of Business 40 by the NC Department of Transportation, has eliminated its one paid staff position.

Former Executive Director Russell DuBois said today that his job was eliminated at the end of October. DuBois said he's looking for work in the architectural field and plans to remain in the Winston-Salem area.

Lee French, the chairman of Creative Corridors' board of directors, said DuBois "played a tremendous role in the community outreach component" of the initiative. He said DuBois' tenure lasted about 16 months, and that Creative Corridors had operated for about two years before that as an all-volunteer organization. Prior to taking the job as executive director, DuBois served as a member of the board.

"He attended countless community and neighborhood meetings," French said. "Russ is very much a part of the early stage of Creative Corridors' legacy through the completion of the visionary master plan and guidelines that will have design elements on the Salem Creek Connector that are the new benchmarks for the standard at [the NC Department of Transportation]."

French said that the board felt that with the organization moving into a new phase it needed to consider "the allocation of scarce resources" and reassess "the requirements of leadership," including major fundraising.

"We love Russ and have great appreciation for what he contributed to this effort as a volunteer board member and then as executive director," French added.

After unveiling plans a year ago for a grand twin arch over the interchange at US Highway 52 and the planned Salem Creek Connector, board members are still trying to raise money from private donors to cover the costs.

"Other than to say we have some key presentations and have early indications that there's going to be commitment to the kind of things we want to accomplish, it's a little early to comment," French said.

State transportation officials and consultants leading the Business 40 project have made it clear that they are proceeding with their own public input process and will not give any extra weight to Creative Corridors' recommendations. Some volunteers serving on the Creative Corridors Design Review Committee, a board empaneled by the city of Winston-Salem, have expressed frustration that their ideas might not be incorporated.

"We are certainly respectful and mindful of the process and procedure that needs to be followed by NCDOT and the requirements that need to be met through their public input process," French said. "We will be supportive of that process. It so happens that over the past three years Creative Corridors has conducted over 150 such meetings ourselves and have overlaid on top of that public input some expertise. Those two things — the input and the expertise — that is so much a part of what we expressed in our visionary master plan and guidelines are reflective of what the community wants. We'll help NCDOT get at those community guidelines and we'll participate actively in the NCDOT process."

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