An Impossible Situation in Rocky Mount, NC Concerning Housing

My Favorite Architect

Great Granddaughter Annaclaire turns six in February. She often says things that surprise me and seem beyond her years. She was having a conversation with her Mama about kindergarten. She asked, “When are they going to teach something hard?” Mama said, “What do you mean?” “I want to be able to figure out an impossible situation.”

Me, too, honey-girl, but I can’t figure out how to stop a city manager and two 20+ year councilmen in Ward 1 and 2 and their cronies from bamboozling the City of Rocky Mount, NC. If Ward 1 and 2 are happy, I’d be fine with the councilmen carrying on forever, but everybody pays a price for their agenda that brings personal gain at the expense of their constituents and the city. You can’t make a lot of money saving shotguns and bungalows, but under the table, there is money to be made on a hotel and garage or low income housing on a parking lot across from Edgecombe Community College. We know who stays up all night to dream up these schemes!

Now I’m out of sorts with Mr. Joyner and his ill conceived plan of tearing a house down that can be saved. A majority of the City Council voted to approve spending $161,500 for both demolition of a house at 623 Branch St. in Southeast Rocky Mount and construction of a replacement of comparable size. This mistake should have been stopped. It wasn’t. The mismanagement by these leaders constitutes an ‘impossible situation.’ Perhaps I should ask Annaclaire what she suggests.

The City of Rocky Mount is going to tear down and replace this house. This is wrong! This is one of many bungalows scattered through Wards 1-4 that can be saved. For some cockamamie reason, Mr Joyner must have made a promise he had no right to make. He is now indebted to those on the Council that supported him. They will expect to be repaid another day, with his vote. These bungalows have a story, and are valuable. Drive through Ward 3 and assess for yourself the state of things. You will ask, why this house, why now? As a English mystery reader, I have been using the word, doggy to describe Rocky Mounts housing decisions.

When I look at this house above, I see it restored with a family that will love it. It becomes an asset as one house at a time is restored. What if the Council withdraws their support from Mr. Joyner’s plan? I know of one way to solve these impossible situations. There are four seats up for election. It is time for a change. Four people who value common sense and support preservation, restoration and repurposing will change the housing of Rocky Mount and answer the needs of the community.

Restoration looks like this. Save the bungalows of Rocky Mount, Mr. Joyner, don’t destroy the house on Branch Street, restore it.

Above is a 1928 – 1,345 SqFt. Belmont bungalow in Charlotte NC. Fully remodeled in 2013 this home provides 1900‘s charm with modern day conveniences. 2014 the rear porch was extended and screened along with a stamped concrete driveway and oversized two car garage. Great front porch, fireplace, hardwoods, modern finishes and appliances.

Preserving, restoring and repurposing are the words on the banner over Main Street that apply to residential architecture as well. Poverty makes money for those working the system. Mr. Joyner is costing taxpayers money when destroying a house that can be saved. A mystery writer has the making of a good book answering the question, Why is this happening?

Rocky Mount must have leadership that champions the historic and architectural character of the community because it is essential to cultural, social, and economic stability. These are they key ingredients in neighborhood livability and quality of life. The number of boarded up and neglected houses tells you everything you need to know about councilman that are messing about. There are impossible situations going on in Rocky Mount that must be figured out. Get involved in your neighborhood council, help elect new people with a moral compass, use your voice, energy, and expertise and we can turn talk about housing into action that saves the quality and dignity of people’s lives.

5 thoughts on “An Impossible Situation in Rocky Mount, NC Concerning Housing

  1. On one of my Vienna visits, I had to visit Mozart Haus which was his apartment in the late 1700s. As I ascended the contemporary fire escape, I passed a bike chained to the bars, plus flowerpots which added summer color. The building is still an apartment house. His former residence is now a tiny museum. Goodness, if this were in Rocky Mount it would have been destroyed years ago.

    There is something about a restoration which attracts people. In towns far and wide it is trendy to return to renovated homes near the center of town. Formerly dismal neighborhoods come to life with exteriors painted in vibrant colors. Residents walk their dogs, jog, and push their baby carriages. Tourists come from far & wide to gaze on the newness. They park their cars to walk and inspect. While there, they must eat and find recreation. Local economies are stimulated, sales tax revenues increase. The reputation of the community improves.

    The generations who succeeded Mozart got it right. There is value in keeping a significant building. Much value.


  2. Isn’t it suspicious that the City Council and city officials espouse that they care about the people in their districts but, profiteer from the poverty they enforce on those who voted for them? As everyone knows certain council members are in fact repressing the very people, they vow they represent. Doesn’t this sound familiar. Wait, haven’t these council members and officials accused others of racism? And haven’t they deployed this excuse multiple times to justify corruption and graft?

    Why would you pay that much to tear down one home? The only reason I can think of is KICKBACKS!


  3. Sad. What were the demographics of the south end of Branch St below Monk St in the 1960s? I left RM in ’76 and other than visiting my parents and NCWC I didn’t keep up with the decline other than to notice down town.


  4. There’s a beautiful restored bungalow on Pearl Street just like this! Come on, Rocky Mount! $161,000 is more than enough for a restoration budget – Ben and Erin Napier do it all the time in their home town of Laurel, Mississippi. Rocky Mount can do it, too.


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