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.
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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