“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. There is value in keeping a significant building. Much value.” – Knox ‘Buddy’ Porter
No one has said it better than Knox Porter. This quote is our fondest hope for all the reasons he states. Emerging in the historic downtown and surrounding areas is the greening of Rocky Mount’s heart. Wonderful people have been putting their shoulder to the wheel in and around Main Street. The words restoration, new businesses, and commercial architecture are part of learning to speak Main Street. Some favorite words are Preservation, Restoration, and Gentrification without the baggage people lay on the idea. By now you can repeat my response ….crying gentrification is an excuse for in action.
On a ‘drive around,’ I discovered Hargrove Street. The last house on the left had a 1100 address. The boarded up houses for several blocks are a perfect example of what I write about when it comes to the restoration of property that turns a house into a home again. We need to push the idea that it takes neighbors to help one another take care of things. (picking up trash) This neighborhood is a forgotten treasure.
I hope you can see the possibilities in each structure in the gallery of photos below. The ‘What’s in it for Me’ housing polices have led to what you see. Ward 3 City Councilman have let this happen. We’ve got to get volunteers in their own neighborhoods to start taking pride to help one another with simple tasks. Everything that Knox Porter said about Restoration we pray will happen here so residents are able to walk their dogs, jog, and push their baby carriages. There is value in keeping a significant building.” There is value in the houses along Hargrove St.
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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