The City of Rocky Mount is a city with lots of PLANS. If I had the time, I would look up how many and at what cost to the tax payers. You can’t hazard a guess as to how much of the housing stock in Wards 1-4 could have been saved, with the money spent on PLANS. I’ve lost count of the number of groups that are doing ‘something’ connected with housing. There is endless talk about housing especially at election time. If we had used the money spent on PLANS with local contractors, craftsman, preservationist, good old fashion labor, and materials, many houses would have been saved. Now we have another Housing Strategic Plan created by Jayson Dawkins, reviewed by Kenneth Hunter, April 2021 Edition. Talent, time and more money on PLANS while the boarded and deteriorating houses hope for a new life before it is too late.
The stated purpose of this newest PLAN is to create a menu of potential options to address the absence of affordable housing in Rocky Mount. The plan incorporates the policies, and solutions employed by Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington, NC concerning their low income housing.
I enjoy putting people together that can accomplish something of value. It must be an intentional effort to fill seats with people equipped to do the needed jobs. In this case, hire staff that have degrees in urban planning, housing strategies, downtown development, etc. and let them do their jobs. People we had, with the right education and experience, were deliberately run off. They were not the right color perhaps or easily persuadable. Those who left were great at their jobs, but not at being told what they couldn’t do, what people to stay clear of, what meetings they could not attend.
With qualified, trained, educated hires, we don’t need to keep paying money to firms to tell us how to fix things. (That whole process falls under the doggy business category.) I feel passionate about great sums of money being spent on PLANS. If hiring practices work as they should, you hire people equipped to do the jobs that need doing. Their salaries include the expertise we keep paying out for PLANS. After hiring staff with degrees in urban planning, housing strategies, downtown development, etc. you get out of the way and let them do their jobs. Hiring friends and ‘yes’ people, doesn’t work as we have seen.
At Monday’s City Council meeting (1-10-22) we listened to eloquent and passionate TALK. The long time black councilmen support with all their hearts, helping the poor and their housing needs. A brave Mom who has lost a child gave witness to the help and love, from Wards 1-4 Councilman. There was no doubt it has meant the world to her. It was a powerful witness to people’s better angels.
Over and over, there is the sincere pleading: how long, how long,must this goon? As long as the blame is placed on racism to cover the skullduggery that has gone on. For as long as councilmen pay no price for bad decisions, and worse, personal gain. It is time for a change! Stop spending money on another plan and the foolery that comes with it. Public hearings that in the end mean nothing. One of the hearings I attended, a black gentleman standing next to me said, “I’ve come to these things for years, and the Council does what it wants anyway.” We already know the type of people the City Manager seeks to work with. Remember Mr Hunt? Put the right people together and they’ll create solutions. Let them have at it. Enough talking and spending money with kick-backs under the table. Rocky Mount can be known for its housing successes for everyone.
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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3 thoughts on “Rocky Mount’s Affordable Housing Strategic Plan”
Sometimes in order to get things going it is better to fly by the seat of your pants. Planning this is going no where slowly. Just DO IT!!
Stephany, as my father use to say “ you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.
Well said Stepheny. It is amazing that the taxpayers of Rocky Mount put up with the City Manager, and City Council–a folly of fools in the end. One must wonder what collusion it takes and with whom to have avoided prosecution for fiscal mismanagement, misrepresentation of city projects and various other sorted activities. The entire population of Rocky Mount knows what goes on in “City Hall” and elsewhere. However, the lies ebb and flow from the council and city officials. It is time for the state Attorney General and the Governor to ACTUALLY do their jobs and INVISTGATE the entire lot. Now there is a project worth paying for!