The overall #1 seed team in the tournament WINS! Well, that’s what the ladies in my story would say. Some years ago, I drove from Chapel Hill to Durham to the beauty shop. Waiting my turn during the NCAA Tournament, I listened to four ladies talk Duke basketball. It was a Norman Rockwell moment. In their seventies, caped and facing forward, this discussion took place as they looked at each other in the mirror before them. I doubt any Duke player could have imagined this scene. These beauty shop coaches were worthy of a Post magazine cover. Fast forward to the Road to the Final Four, 2019. It isn’t only basketball on people’s minds this week, but the necessity for new leadership for Team Rocky Mount and resistance to a few City Council members propelling us into the real estate business again.
From my end of the bench, the answer to this proposed Tarboro housing is – – absolutely not! The information meeting on April 2, which I encourage everyone to go, is theater, the outcome already known to insiders. Despite denials, the kind of corruption which prompted demands for investigation and change in the first place is more insider dealing with a favored non-profit and them taking us to the cleaners again.
Ms. Miller asked at the City Council meeting whether the housing would be private and property tax-paying, or public and non-taxpaying. KEY in all this is that the entire premise of the event center was to use public expenditure to prompt private investment and thus raise the downtown’s tax base. With an increased tax base, the taxpayers would (theoretically, hopefully, eventually) recoup their investment. Otherwise, the spending is mere redistribution from taxpayers to recipients – – that is, welfare. The requirement for private ownership and tax-paying must be a firm part of any plan going forward with any project. Let us not forget that the city’s plan depicts that part of Tarboro St for needed parking for the Event Center and other downtown needs.
The Event Center is fabulous. Contrary to social media hyperbole, from people who have probably never darkened the door, events continue to be booked, the interior is first class. Have there been some screw-ups? Yep. If some of the members of the City Council keep their noses out of it and let professional people run the place, it will succeed. To deliberately, knowingly, sabotage that needed parking to line more pockets, is not happening.
The folks that have been bouncing the basketball down the court creating this newest scheme that takes advantage of taxpayers, couldn’t care less about these people they claim it will help. This is not the way to go about it in the first place and has been proven. We want diverse housing, that has been soundly built, offering various square footage for different needs of a family, a single occupant, first-time buyer, retired people, not plunking people down on Tarboro street distanced from what can be a restored safe neighborhood that offers affordable opportunities for home ownership. Privately purchased by investors deteriorating houses are being turned into homes again. If this type of housing is so important why don’t some of our Wards reflect that priority? Instead, they look the same or worse than they did ten years ago? Rocky Mount needs to get out of the real estate business, enforce the ordinances and codes we have, help assist private investors by streamlining the policies and procedures regarding permits. There are people laboring in the field like Lea Henry. She gets it as well as others trying to save our housing stock and put people in safe houses they can be proud of with neighbors looking out for one another once again. As Main Street continues to come back, we will need that parking and that’s what we shall have.
Good Luck with your favorite team this weekend