Howard Street – A Street to Build a Dream On

“The current passion for reuse might be explained by sustainability or fashion but, most importantly, it affords a sense of history and texture, taking advantage of buildings already embedded in cities. They are buildings with atmosphere, history, and stories inscribed in their fabric. And sometimes sustainability isn’t just about the energy and materials saved but about the stories, craft and intelligence embodied in its walls.”                                        -Paul Miles – The Financial Times

You know me well enough by now to recognize how this quotation is the crux of how I think about saving Main Street; a metaphor I use to include the larger area of the residential and commercial property that is part of Rocky Mount’s signature. The song from My Fair Lady came to mind as I walked Howard Street (again) and took photographs of the buildings – I have often walked on this street before but the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before but here am I – – seeing the dream Howard street could be. It is essential to the reimagining of Main Street that people not only work but live downtown. I count imagination as a gift and I hope you have been given your fair share. At first, all you will see is buildings without purpose, but with imagination, ah, welcome to the dream of Howard Street.


Try to think of these upper floors as apartments, lofts, filled with ‘living above the shop’ residents who become a neighborhood: a cafe, an antique dealer, artists and writers, singles, older couples who are tired of owning a big house and want to be downtown to walk to a restaurant and shops and nightlife.  Picture this wonderful space where people live and work, are definitely willing to feed your cat while you are away and are now looking out for one another. Where there is music drifting from a window, people meeting in the street, where there is love again, purpose and creativity, the honoring of the past by saving this architecture and the stories embedded in the walls. (More about the Howard Street Dream soon.)

3 thoughts on “Howard Street – A Street to Build a Dream On

  1. It’s a wonderful idea for Howard Street! I love it. Please don’t blame the city manager. I don’t know her and I am sure she is probably not from here. If she has been around for any length of time though, she is very aware of the racial divide in Rocky Mount. That’s not her fault. Unity comes from the top down and the top management has to walk the walk and talk the talk. We had residents opposing the event center for the same reasons. We, as a city, have to get it together. Surrounding cities are surpassing our growth by leaps and bounds. We need recruiters for businesses, visionaries for downtown, investors, local people that live the city involved and running the city. The divide comes from a city that builds up one side while tearing down the other. It’s time for a change, some action from those at the top, some color andninterest downtown, clean up of abandon homes and yard and street violations. Young people don’t care because of what the elders and natives aren’t caring! #ilovemycity


  2. Fingers crossed that it happens. The observations you make are completely correct from an Urban Planning and Community Development aspect. So many great buildings to work within RM–if only the City Manager was not caught up in a black versus a white campaign that will eventually divide Rocky Mount and drive people away. Frankly, after that the information provided by the Rocky Mount Telegram–she should be fired. The City Manager is after one thing making it about race–she has NO interest in what is best for the city. Obviously, her past record in other cities makes it clear who and what she is. Wake up people make the City Council FIRE her before it is too late.


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