This rendering depicts the proposed downtown Rocky Mount Event Center.

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This rendering depicts the proposed downtown Rocky Mount Event Center.

City weighs event center

By John Henderson

Staff Writer

4 Comments | Leave a Comment

Event centers throughout North Carolina similar to one being contemplated for Rocky Mount operate at annual deficits ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars a year, figures show.

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city discusses event center

Please town leaders don't put us anymore in debt than we are. If you are so desperate to spend money pay down our debt with Electri=city so the utitly rates can be reduced. I am a resident of Edgecombe Co and can not see the sense in locating an event center downtown. In addition to few restaurants, no hotels, no roads to the proposed site. We can't afford to take on any more debt. A house down the road from me burned down the other day because the occupants could not pay the high utility bills and living there with kerosene heaters. Please think what you are doing to our residents.

Event Center

I understand the arguments made by supporters of the event center about outside dollars coming into Rocky Mount when visitors spend money. Even if the event center operates at a loss supporters believe the indirect benefits of visitors spending money will outweigh any negative affects. However, I don't believe supporters of the event center understand the arguments being made by opponents. Opponents believe the projections made by consultants, city officials, and other experts are way too optimistic. Predictions made about Ford's Colony and Roanoke Rapids Theater did not pan out. Home Depot and Bisquitville were incorrect when they believed their experts had chosen attractive store locations. Raleigh, Greenville, Fayetteville, and Concord are not good examples to compare with Rocky Mount. All these areas are larger than Rocky Mount and generally have stronger economies. There are also large numbers of restaurants, shopping, entertainment, sporting events, etc. for visitors. So I believe it is unlikely an event center in Rocky Mount will attract as many events/visitors as predicted/hoped. Furthermore, with event centers in Greenville, Fayetteville, and Raleigh there may not be a need for another event center. If there is a need downtown Rocky Mount is probably the wrong place since there is a lack of hotels etc. The article in the Rocky Mount Telegram mentioned that the event Center in Concord was similar to the one planned in Rocky Mount. The Telegram should have mentioned that Concord has around 80,000 people and is basically a suberb of Charlotte. Obviously that region is much larger and has more economic growth than Rocky Mount. So it is likely Concord can attract more visitors/events than Rocky Mount.

Additional Information

Please read the Letter to the Editor: Current and Previous RM Telegram Articles: Please review research conducted by the Community Council and Like us on Facebook Link to the AECOM Study and the position of the City of Rocky Mount

an albatros

If you say that the library and the complex do not pay for themselves then why on earth would we build yet another place that loses money. I do not believe we should saddle our children and grandchildren with such debt as the event center being proposed would bring. We have invested enough money that we do not have in trying to revive downtown Rocky Mount. Why do we have to constantly be doing something that a few people want unless those people have enough money of their own to invest. With the economy as it is the time will soon come that those large, costly meetings will cease and then what good is all that space with seats and big utility bills. If you haven't noticed....lots of companies are not doing the entertaining like they did in the past...the insurance on the employees are killing them and now they want to raise the minimum wage...teachers are not paid a decent wage for what they are expected to do and a few people in this town want to spend mega bucks on a building that will sit idle most of the time but the insurance and utilities and those in charge will still have to be paid...why don't we step back and take a deep breath and regroup with thoughts about what we REALLY need, not what we just think we want.

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