Looking for a Way to Help Save Main Street? Sign This Online Letter of Support


Many of you have asked, “How can I help?” Here is your chance by simply signing an online petition to show community support for a Facade Grant Program that is being considered by City Council.



Our Downtown Rocky Mount friend, Ben Braddock, Commercial Real Estate Broker, General Contractor and owner of Station Square, will take a letter and our signatures to the Council meeting this coming Monday Night, March 11 – 7:00 PM in an effort to  encourage a grant program for the facades of our commercial buildings along Main Street.

If you read the Facebook page, Rocky Mount Concerned Citizens, you’ve seen a stream of excellent questions and observations left there after Monday’s Main Street Rocky Mount blog post was shared on their page. CLICK HERE: to read that post explaining what these facade programs are about.

Thank you for your excellent thoughts that will help inform the mapping out of a Rocky Mount version of this grant program. You must know by now, that if you are pessimistic about Saving Main Street, that I and others who BELIEVE, cannot be deterred.  We want this to go beyond talk by our leadership to actually moving forward with the proposal that is an important step in making Main Street the best in the state. We have the architecture to support that statement. Main Street belongs to all of us and needs and deserves a big step like this. Broken glass fixed, safety concerns addressed, boarded windows are gone and paint, glorious paint!  Remember this is an exterior focus that helps stabilize the building and encourages investors to see what we see.

Safety Considerations

By voicing our support with this early show of signatures for the grant program under consideration, everybody could win when Main Street is a priority again. New businesses, people living downtown ‘above the store’ – a thriving happening downtown that continues to honor its past while building a future. Your signature doesn’t obligate you to anything but simply says to City Council, we support a carefully executed program that addresses the facades along Main Street that are in desperate need of attention.

To read the letter and leave your signature,  CLICK HERE: 

Economic Development in Downtown Rocky Mount -The Official Opening of Station Square – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony


There have been historical accounts of ribbon-cutting ceremonies since the end of the 19th century. City officials and neighboring business owners are invited to help celebrate a new venture. We have all seen a large ribbon ceremoniously cut by one or more important figure with speeches to follow. According to Union Parish, La. archives, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held around 1898 for the opening of a railroad line in northern Louisiana. These ceremonies became more common throughout the 1900s. Prominent ribbon cuttings include the opening of the Disneyland Monorail in 1959 and the opening of the World Trade Center in 1973. Rocky Mount is not to be outdone!

Ben Braddock, the new owner of Station Square, will be on hand to meet and greet all of us this afternoon at 5:30 for the ribbon cutting of this revitalized property. I hope you have admired the beautiful new paint on the exterior of the buildings retaining their historic colors. Inside the buildings, you will find a fresh, vibrant, busy, place that reflects the economic development going on in the community. This is a great opportunity to see for yourself what is going on so you can spread the word. You remember the song in the movie, Love Actually? Well, instead of singing the words...love is all around us, you can feel it in the air.….we can sing….economic development is all around us, we can see it for ourselves.

56 properties have been sold downtown. For example, The Carlton House has been sold with an estimated 2.5 million dollars investment plan to bring it to new life and purpose.  The Five Points buildings along Washington Street ….sold.  There is much more to talk about in upcoming posts. Economic Development is all around us and it spreads out from our downtown areas. Did you know that our real estate inventory is the lowest since the recession? Five houses have been sold in the Edgemont Historic District.

STATION SQUARE’s ribbon cutting today has broad shoulders that reflect investment, it is about YOUNG PEOPLE who are relocating, about new businesses, and dear to our hearts…. this is a great example of restoration, preservation, and the reuse of commercial properties.            Congratulations to one and all

Please take a minute and read:

Telling the Station Square Story-Mr Lynell Bynum-

Station Square-Lynell Bynum: Are you Committed to Downtown Success

Station Square – Lynell Bynum: Are You Committed to Downtown? – Part 2

“In my opinion, cities have got to be committed to downtown if they are going to save it.   If they aren’t committed, they can’t expect other people to be.”              -Lynell Bynum                                  

City of Rocky Mount NE Main St_1962

On the right, you find a photograph of the Municipal Offices in downtown Rocky Mount, NC. before the city made a commitment to build a new city hall in a part of downtown that needed revitalization. Enter Lynell Bynum along with Errol Warren, a local architect, and Sandy Bulman of Bulman-Frazier Design Studio in Raleigh, who together would redevelop an entire city block across from the city hall and turn it into a modern shopping center and office space.

Mr. Bynum proposed a partnership with the City of Rocky Mount offering the city a 3-1  proposition. I don’t know the exact figures but let’s just say Mr. Bynum put up three million dollars of his own money and asked the city to provide one million to acquire property which would provide parking for the retail area. I wrote in Part 1 why Mr. Bynum would be predisposed to do such a thing. Click Here to read the ‘greatest generation’ aspect of this story.

When it was all said and done, the Station Square project, named for the railroad station next door became the gold standard for how private and public partnerships can develop projects together within the community. The significant renovation of the Douglas Block in 2010 is another prime example.

Let investment in the preservation of our commercial downtown buildings take inspiration from Mr. Bynum who took basic commercial structures, some in dreadful condition, and restored them with a sensitivity to their glory days. Other downtown buildings were then restored by following this great example of Mr. Bynum’s imagination and commitment.

In the light of today’s revitalization of historic downtown Rocky Mount and beyond, Ben Braddock, real estate investor and general contractor has stepped forward and is once again offering Station Square as a model of ‘how you do it.’ In my estimation, he has appropriated the same set of American values that underpinned Lynell Bynum’s risk. The next phase in the life of Station Square requires a strong work ethic, courage, and faith in this community. We honor Mr. Bynum, and we vigorously shake Ben Braddock’s hand for what he is doing on many fronts.











Telling The Station Square Story – Mr. Lynell Bynum -Part 1

Why would Mr. Lynell Bynum, (1924-2002) decide in the early 1970’s to buy up an entire block of buildings in downtown Rocky Mount NC? How is this connected to real estate investor and general contractor, Ben Braddock, and his business partner, who have purchased from Chambliss and Rabil Commercial Reality, Station Square, a 65,000 square foot facility.

We have before us men whose names are now allied: Lynell Bynum, the creator of Station Square and Ben Braddock, who like a long-distance runner in a relay race has already taken off down the track, the baton firmly in his grasp. He has turned towards the new possibilities of Station Square. I hope you will help line the sidewalks to cheer him on in his endeavors. 

Go and see for yourself the new opportunities there are to shop, soon to eat, and where there is impressive space for your business. On the right: Station Square freshly painted. It’s fabulous. We will have the opportunity to talk further with Ben, but what about Mr. Bynum?

Knowing Mr. Bynum could have spent his considerable dollars on anything, why on a bunch of old buildings he restored and connected, giving them a new purpose in downtown Rocky Mount? I’m certain Mr. Bynum would be leading the charge for the revitalization of downtown Rocky Mount today. Ahead of his time, he believed in the preservation and the restoration of commercial architecture for new purposes.

To understand Mr. Bynum, we need a context in which to place him and we can find answers amongst The Greatest Generation at the end of WWII. Lynell belonged to the Army Air Corp and flew B24’s. He was 18 years old in 1942 having experienced the great depression. (1929-1941) This becomes significant to our story in remembering that there is a common theme for the great generation which was self-sacrifice.

They’d experienced the harsh economic realities of the depression, seen the worst there was to see during the war and came home having developed values of personal responsibility, duty, honor, and faith. Tom Brokaw writes that these characteristics helped them to defeat Hitler, build the American economy, give succeeding generations the opportunity to accumulate great economic wealth, political power, and the freedom from foreign oppression to make whatever choices they liked.

When we speak of Lynell Bynum, there is a litany of American values that explain why he would invest in a place called home that subsequently benefited from his leadership, values and his determination to make a contribution in Rocky Mount. Mr. Bynum reminds us of what we must not forget, which seem under threat…..words to live by….. personal responsibility, accountability, a strong work ethic, the ability to be self-sufficient/reliant, the capacity for loyalty, courage, honor, a sense of duty and unabashed patriotism along with a strong sense of gratitude, pride in accomplishments, all with quiet humility. We thank Mr. Bynum for reminding us of the under-pinning of his life and for his contributions.

Next time: Mr. Bynum’s partners with the City of Rocky Mount.