‘Planting Your Flag in the Ground’ – Another City Council Meeting

“If you have eyes to see past the broken glass and boarded facades, if you look up as I do, you will see what I see. Commercial architecture holding the heartbeat and stories of Rocky Mount.” -Stepheny Houghtlin

This quote of mine is one approach to preservation. There are many avenues to pursue when considering what you are interested in.  PRM had a meeting this past Wednesday, Feb 13th, which I led. No preservation was done! It was more like giving a sales pitch (for Saving Main Street) to a group of enthusiastic salesmen hoping to ignite their excitement and have them want to sell my product. Wonderful people were there; the best and the brightest as a matter of fact.  We’ll talk more another time about connecting the dots from A– an interest to B – a plan to D- something gets done.

Wednesday night I was reminded of an AA story that says when someone gets up to give a talk at a meeting, they give three speeches…the one they prepared, the one they give, the one they revise on the way home. I was so busy with the sales pitch that there was no time to talk about the real matter at hand that not only effects Saving Main Street, but supports continued revitalization. This takes strong, honest city government that equates to good practices, a city government that does their job with competence and for the good of the taxpayers. There is no saving anything without that.

For the last three weeks, I have been involved with hundreds of others in what is called civic engagement. As hard as the Council has tried to deflect the issues at hand by bringing up extraneous topics, or pinning the public concerns on what was called a dark shadow, no one is having this kind of diversion anymore.  Whether at home or from a seat at City Hall, we are now focused on what is germane, expecting good governance and an end to the long list of what has gone wrong. The plan the Mayor spelled out last week is not good enough. It is more messing about with a myriad of issues that must be taken care of to the satisfaction of the community.

Two doors down from Davis furniture on Main Street we have this!

Why fire hasn’t struck or the facade come down on Main Street, is a mystery.

The flag that I have planted says we need leadership that will provide the will, enforce the ordinances we have on the books, stabilize the facades, put first things first before expecting me to celebrate a new motel that has obviously taken precedence over  Main Street – again. Why would we put another large project like this in the hands of the current Council and Management until complete order has been restored? Still, I believe we are closer to righting wrongs than before because of this groundswell of public engagement, and talk of new leadership running for seats on the Council. We need policies and procedures that safeguard us from any further graft and corruption and then Preservation will go forward. Plant your flag in the ground beside mine asking for a resolution so we can get on with getting on.

“You must learn how to extract things of value out of things that seem totally worthless.” Pastor Sunday

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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7 Responses to ‘Planting Your Flag in the Ground’ – Another City Council Meeting

  1. Anonymous says:

    My daughter and I ride downtown today. It’s like a ghost town with buildings in disrepair and just looking like a pile of trash. Then riding back past Piggly wiggly down Thomas St the once livable and pretty architectural homes now falling apart. It’s sad to see that. Breaks my heart.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Some years ago as talk of the Event Center and downtown revitalization were still in the discussion stages, I completed a survey compiled and sent out by the City of Rocky Mount asking for suggestions. I suggested using available grant money to bring the buildings on Main Street up to code, so business people could afford to move in. The architecture with the period details, the large windows, inside moldings, etc. on some of those buildings are beautiful, even in their current state. Purchase the Home Depot building with easy access to hotels, highways and restaurants and a huge finished parking lot ready for customers. Instead, they spent money on beautifying Main Street parking places for decaying buildings that small to medium-sized businesses cannot afford to repair and build a mega-expensive Event Center with a severe parking shortage. Unforgivable!!!

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  3. Rodd says:

    Until the tax paying citizens of RM demand the resignations of the Mayor and the City Council for dereliction of duties, lying and creating a racial storm to cover up their graft and corruption–little will be done!

    When one takes an oath for public office they are agreeing to uphold standards and values that are implied–much like that of a doctor or a lawyer. Typically If you have been elected, appointed, or hired by a city you must file your Oath of Office. When you file an Oath of Office, you swear to support and uphold the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State you are elected in, and the Charter of the City. And, this is the important part, you also pledge to faithfully discharge the duties to which you have been elected, appointed, or hired to execute.

    As tax payers and citizens of RM do you think your City Council and City Manager have done this? Have they really done what is honest and best? If your answer is no then face facts–this circus has gone on long enough, RM is looking really stupid to the outside world and It is time for all of you to collect signatures to remove the lot of them from governance and elect new leadership. If you do not and you choose to wait to see how it works out or hope for them to change–well then your future is bleak. This has gone on long enough. Put a stop to this. Now. It is a shameful disgrace.

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  4. pwarner4 says:

    Thank you for another excellent post!

    Polly

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  5. Weldon Beck says:

    Thanks for everything you do for the downtown.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I work on the Edgecombe side of town..every day as I drive to work, I am saddened by the state of so many of the buildings in the “uptown” area, broken windows, boarded up doors. When I first moved to Rocky Mount, I enjoyed walking and discovering the shops in the Main St. area. It saddens me that so very many examples of interesting architect in such disrepair.

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  7. Carol Lancaster says:

    Thank you for posting this and letting the people of Rocky Mount know what is going on. I have lived here all my life and hate how our city is turning out. I hope that we will get new council members that will be able to change things for the better.

    Like

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