How Long Is Long Enough? Andre Knight – Ward 1 (2003-2020 and Counting) – Some Ward Photographs

518 Pennsylvania – Rocky Mount NC – Ward 1

These photographs are but a sample of the state of things under this long term Councilman. Don’t you think Mr. Knight’s expiration date is past due? Here is a  treasure of historic housing with no champion to help with things like applications for incentive money that from time to time is available from the city. This is not to say that there are not bright spots in Ward 1 like the Holly Street Neighborhood Revitalization.

There are newer housing developments that have nice homes. If the residents of Ward 1 continue to elect Mr. Knight and expect a different outcome, you will continue to get what you already have. Resident Ella Clark says it better than I can. These fabulous historic buildings throughout the Ward do not make money for Mr. Knight. They need  money and  leadership to restore their significant value to the community who once loved these homes well. Nothing will change until the people of Ward 1 say, “enough is enough.”

Ella Clark Letter: I hear every day Black Lives Matter. Yes, they do.

At the present time, our Black historic buildings are being neglected. Lincoln Park Restaurant & Motel located off Leggett Road in northeast Rocky Mount is a prime example. The condition of this building is deplorable. Lincoln Park Restaurant in its prime catered to the Black middle class. The majority of the Black artists of that time were booked at this site. Lincoln Park Restaurant was also famous for its pit barbecue.

Annie W. Holland School located on Luper Street in the Little Raleigh Community was named after Annie Wealthy Holland. Annie W. Holland in 1928 was in the North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers. It is so sad that the condition of this school has fallen into such bad repair. What happened to our dignity and self-respect? Black neighborhoods are devastated to this day.

The city will give us a ticket for not cutting our grass but they won’t even sweep the street, especially in the Black neighborhoods. Some of the dog parks are maintained better than care for some neighborhoods. The city has no concerns about the condition our neighborhood is in evidently.

It is amazing how the city has allowed Black neighborhoods to deteriorate. Are you checking to see who owns the rundown property?

We take pride in being a homeowner and keep our property up but are surrounded by the rundown property, which lowers the value of our property. Moving a statue that cannot talk or walk or see and has been in place for many years while spending money that could be used to restore running down Historic sites. Money spent, but yet where do you put the statue?

This will not solve the problem that is here in this city. From east to west, north to south, this city looks down again all the Black communities. “Black Communities Matter.” There is no honor amongst thieves. We have been robbed by our leadership and told enough to keep us happy, but we are not happy. We are angry about the money that was spent moving a statue is not solving anything when we are living in slums.

City mayor, city manager, and City Council, what are you doing besides what you want and not for the people? It is not about the color of your skin, it is how things are done and how the black community has fallen down. Who is to blame? “Black Communities Matter.”

You’re covering up instead of fixing up. How long will cover up last? That’s a question that you as leaders should ask yourselves and respect one another.

Ella Clark

Rocky Mount

Photographs by SFH -July 24, 2020 – to illustrate Ms. Clark’s letter

These are savable houses that should take priority over the usual schemes that have nothing to do with the residents of #1 who deserve desent housing.

621 Carolina Ave Rocky Mount, NC – Ward 1

630 Carolina Ave Rocky Mount NC – Ward 1

413 Virginia Rovky Mount, NC – Ward 1

635 Pennsylvania Ave Rocky Mount NC – Ward 1

Street Scene – Pennsylvania Ave Rocky Mount NC – Ward 1

621 Pennsylvania -Rocky Mount NC – Ward 1

617 Pennsylvania – Rocky Mount NC – Ward 1 (Looks like work being done)

Holly St – Rocky Mount NC -Ward 1

2 houses on Holly Street – Rocky Mount NC – Ward 1

370 Holly Street – Rocky Mount NC – Ward 1

420 Goldleaf – Rocky Mount, NC – Ward 1

500 Carolina – Rocky Mount NC – Ward 1

308 Carolina – Rocky Mount, NC – Ward 1

336 Carolina – Rocky Mount, NC – Ward 1

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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5 Responses to How Long Is Long Enough? Andre Knight – Ward 1 (2003-2020 and Counting) – Some Ward Photographs

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Building Code Enforcement Unit is a joke. I purchased a property that had been vacant and unkept for over 15 years. I renovated the property and contacted the Code Department for Inspection so that I could make the property available for rent. Across the street from my property there were 6 other properties, 3 had been vacant for 15-20 years, one property was occupied by the longtime homeowner and the other was occupied but should have been condemned. The inspected came out and refused to pass my property because “you have some chipped paint around 2 windows that may contain lead”. I have owned the property for over 10 years and now all 6 properties across the street are abandoned and run down. Yet, I have received notice that if I did not cut the grass in the back yard of my property the city would do it and charge me. I invited them to PLEASE come and cut the grass as it had been very rainy and my lawn mow had gotten stuck. I guess they didn’t want there mower stuck so they never came.

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    • Across social media, I write about the lack of a win-win approach from the city when it comes to building code enforcement. One person is told he has chipped paint around windows while buildings across the street are allowed to sit empty and deteriorate impacting adjoining buildings. You will recognize the names of certain city council cronies that are given a free pass around go when it comes to Building codes and ordinances. A win-win approach so that the city improves the tax base while helping investors to find and save a commercial building for another Main Street business. I am grateful for this personal experience that illustrates what continues to happen. When Building codes and ordinances are handles the same across the board you end up with a win-win. THANK YOU, Anonymous, for taking the time to leave this telling comment. SFH

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  2. monnietayloryahoocom says:

    Stepheny, I didn’t post a reply to the piece you wrote so as not to solicit negative comments and extend the divide. I do however want to add my two cents to your story. I do not condone anything our councilmen have done! That said, I do feel like there is a shared responsibility for the condition and deterioration of the Edgecombe side of the tracks (yes there are area on Nash side closest to the tracks that have the same issue). I have contacted the city on numerous occasions about dilapidated homes and homes with possible squatters, etc. I was told it was a housing code issue. I contacted the Housing Code Department and was told there is a process. When I asked for step by step procedures, I realized that it could take up to 7-10 years for the city to tear down a house of the landlord or owner refuses to repair it. The process is overly complicated and favors the owner. I also found out that although there is grant monies that may be available, unless the owner, many of whom don’t live in our city or state, comes in and does the application, nothing can be done. I have complained about house furniture on porches, cars parked all over the lawns and junk and junked cars and appliances visible in yards. These violations were not allowed inside the city limits. We used to have enforced ordinances about those kinds of things. Apparently now we don’t. We have people in power that can stand on their heads and jump up and down screaming to make sure this issue stays in the forefront, if they care enough to. When our neighborhoods were kept up through enforcement, people took pride in making sure they stayed that way!

    Monnique Taylor

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    • Grateful you wrote about your personal experience in trying to address problems in neighborhoods that are under-served and in need. It is an oft repeated scnerio isn’t it; others who have picked up the phone asking for help and relief. It does seem like people are fed up with the same-old, same-old outcomes. I have learned from you comment and will take it to heart in my endeavors to be of help. Thank you!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    And they want to paint a sign on top of a building? Yeah that’s about the dumbest thing they ever come up with besides moving the monument & wasting all that money!! I don’t blame her for being upset!! They ( Council members) should be concentrating on their own zones!! They are horrible looking!! They are just getting their votes and then doing nothing for them!! Shame on you Council members!!

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