Where responsible city leadership welcomes private development, the results have been fantastic. By working together for ‘a yes solution’ in their dealings with private investors, downtowns are saved and economic growth is stimulated. Elizabeth City and New Bern are examples of this kind of success; revitalization at its finest. Here in Rocky Mount, it cannot be denied that the Wizards behind the curtain can still foot-drag, dilly-dallying, and make things difficult in an attempt to retain control over the downtown outcomes. A larger story has happened in spite of this. Determined locals and an influx of creative, hard-working people will not be deterred. They are saving our commercial architecture one building at a time by repurposing them. Living Above The Store is under construction, a vital piece of the revitalization puzzle.
We’ve learned a great deal since the 1980 Urban Renewal period when terrible mistakes were made. Enough time has gone by to access what worked and didn’t. Tearing down paradise and putting up a parking lot was not the answer. A big piece of the answer is preserving a strong sense of place that is vital to the health and prosperity of a downtown. The Rocky Mount story creates a particular richness that is attracting new people while honoring the place others have always called home.
“Research has proven that a successful revitalization must include a pedestrian-friendly, connected location with a lively environment that encourages visitors to linger and support the local economy.” Living Above The Store broadens the success of a downtown community. “A downtown with a critical mass encourages a connection to the local community because they don’t leave the area at the end of the day. They shop local, eat local and drink local—inherently helping spur the economy and foster the hip-factor of the district.” Living downtown: a mix of people who can live nearer their jobs, are singles, married, retired people who are sizing down and want to walk to nearby amenities. The emerging scene on Main Street Rocky Mount will include Living Above The Store. Way Cool, friends, Way Cool!
“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”
– Christopher Reeve
In 2017, Scott Baldwin wrote an article called, Live-Work Units: Reasons to Include Them in Your Next Project. (Fisher, Ind.) I have quoted from his article in support of this post.