Tower lighting puts shine on Mills

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Galelix perches on Kim Greene’s shoulder Saturday at the Rocky Mount Mills Tower Lighting.


Staff Writer

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The rain failed to keep a throng of people away from coming out Saturday to the inaugural Rocky Mount Mills Tower Lighting celebration.

“It’s all about giving back to the community, and this is all about what Capitol Broadcasting (Co.) believes in terms of community building,” said Rocky Mount Mills General Manager Scott Roberts.

Among the people to be part of the first-time event was veteran WRAL anchor and reporter Gerald Owens, who helped kick off the festive holiday occasion. The personable Owens, who has worked for the Raleigh television station since 2002, took several pictures with people inside the Main Mill Building where the live atmosphere consisted of people dancing to the music of a DJ, socializing and enjoying a craft beer.

The Mills Tower Lighting celebration followed in the footsteps of Capitol Broadcasting Co.’s long traditional American Tobacco Campus Tower Lighting celebration in Durham.

“This is my first time in this place at this stage of development and the tower lighting is a tradition that we have obviously extended to Rocky Mount that we do in Durham,” Owens said. “It is a magic to it and this magic now exists in Rocky Mount. This event is just beautiful and it’s because of this property. This is a gem and it’s great to see the use being made of this Tar River because in the past anytime you talk about the river it was usually about it flooding. It’s great to see the opportunity that has sprung up in Rocky Mount.

In addition to the Tower Lighting, there were other activities during the event on campus, including people bunched up together under umbrellas wearing rain coats as they took part in horse drawn carriage rides around the campus. Nichole Garrett, along with her 2-year-son Ziyir Williams and niece Ari’Yana Gregg, had big smiles following their ride and seeing the colorful lights come on the Mills tower.

“I had a lot of fun, and I like seeing the horses,” Gregg said.

Garrett said this was her first time coming to the Mills, and she was impressed by how the event turned out and the development taking place at the Mills.

“I think it was really nice how it was all put together because most of time when it rains, events are usually cancelled,” she said. “It was just a nice family event. The overall campus has a lot going on and it’s great for Rocky Mount.”

Georgia Stussie came out with her family and also was excited to see the activity taking place at the Mills.

“It’s absolutely mind blowing what’s going here,” she said. “To know how it was before as a working cotton mill and to see how great those renovated homes look now that were destroyed in Hurricane Floyd years ago is amazing. They are doing some good things here in Rocky Mount.”