Over 60% occupied, it’s a tremendous source of pride not only for Rocky Mount, but for the people who championed the neighborhood, provided untiring leadership, and who came together in partnership to share a dream that has come to fruition, the largest affordable housing project to date. Two men, Vann Joines, and Richard Angino, President of Third Wave Housing, have been the wind beneath the wings of Beal Street Square. At the ground breaking ceremonies, I experienced that wonderful moment when anything can happen. I could hear the voices from the past of children playing and their parents calling them home at night fall. I could “see” neighbors sitting on their front porches, a close knit Happy Hill community, who watched out for one another. That wonderful moment is happening again.
Richard Angino is an animated and happy man today, and rightly so. I took a tour with him to see the end results of thoughtful, endless planning, followed by more thoughtful corrections and tweaking. I know these are not elegant terms to explain the process, but, oh my, what a pay off for the determination to do this project right.
A reminder about Happy Hill, where Beal Street Square is located: Here is a large intact black district. By 1920 the neighborhood was densely populated along Beal, Tillery, and Thomas streets. By 1930 the 20-30 block area northwest of Main street was filled with houses, churches and small businesses for blacks. Investors built rows of the shotgun, saddlebag, and hip-roofed houses next to the tobacco processing plants and warehouses. If you take for granted the architecture in Rocky Mount, you are missing one of the greatest assets we have. It isn’t just about the grand homes throughout the community, but it is also the amazing pockets, like Happy Hill, that provide a sense of place and have a history we honor. If you have time, read the original posts about Welcome to Beal Street Square, Shotgun Houses, The Roses of Beal Street.
Three of the new great children living at Beal Street Square.
Photos of two of the individual court yards that will take on the unique character of the surrounding residents. One with the Gazebo and the one below with the picket fence. Trees have been saved. Beal Street Square is a cause for celebration. Congratulations to everyone involved.
Here is a look at a model of these energy efficient, shot gun-like floor plans.