Council weighs proposed downtown event center

By Brie Handgraaf

Staff Writer

13 Comments | Leave a Comment

Rocky Mount Councilman Reuben Blackwell’s reading of a prepared statement in support of a downtown event center Monday afternoon prompted a response from all the other council members despite the topic not being on the meeting agenda ahead of time.

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Comments

Investment

Nash County and the western part of Rocky Mount have grown over the past few decades. Is that because of City Projects? I don't think so. Businesses, industry, and people have moved to the Nash/and western part of Rocky Mount. Most of the growth has been due to private investment by people, companies, and businesses. Not by government programs and city projects. If more government programs and city projects were the answer then downtown and Edgecombe County would be growing rapidly.

Hilarious!

They're going to add another nail to the coffin of this city simply because of the "We are owed" mentality. That thinking is so utterly stupid and childish that the only response I can muster is to break out in laughter. If, by some outside chance there is future development and growth in this area, it will continue to be to the west....outside the city limits. As for those poor fools on the Edgecombe side who demand that that folly be built the only change they will see will be an increase in their property taxes and/or rent.

The "we are owed" mentality is correct

The "we are owed" mentality says it all. That racial thinking may be the downfall of this city. I believe some Black city "leaders" are committed to making a name for themselves over this event center issue and/or they are in so deep that, now realizing the financial negatives themselves, they cannot save face by backing out. An event center in Rocky Mount - anywhere - is a bad idea. It will not pay for itself/its upkeep, and it will take customers away from other venues such as the Dunn Center, the Imperial Center and the Gateway Convention Center. As a landlord, if my property taxes go up, I will be forced to raise rents. I don't see me or any of my tenants benefiting from an event center. What are we trying to prove, who are we trying to impress exactly? Don't do it on my back.

Curmilus

According to Curmilus the reason the Nash side of Rocky Mount has grown is because officials from past administrations have urged businesses to move to the Nash part of Rocky Mount. I guess there are not any other reasons you can think of?? If you believe that then I have some ocean front property in Montana to sell. I suppose Belk moved from downtown Rocky Mount to Golden East Mall because they were urged by city officials from past administrations. It didn't have to do with where they could make the most money, parking, where customers were shopping, crime, new store, etc. etc.

Possible Damage to Rocky Mount

Mr. Blackwell seems to ignore warnings from many sources of the financial damage that could be done to Rocky Mount if the center were to be built now. All the other council members supported this motion except Mr. Bullock. Mr. Blackwell also mentioned he will oppose investment in Rocky Mount in cases where his idea of fairness is not satisfied. The future of Rocky Mount seems bleaker everyday. If it can be proved the city council is grossly negligent in their actions, we may have to turn to the state legislature or Governor for help.

SMDH! Warning?

Councilman Reuben Blackwell was right on point. What sources are you referring to? SMDH! Neglect is what Rocky Mount Edgecombe County side is reaping today! Yeah turn to the state legislature and the Governor and report back here. LMBAO!

Investment

Reuben Blackwell's remarks imply that many opponents of the event center have supported/benefitted from city projects in the western part of Rocky Mount but they don't support investment in the downtown or other areas of Rocky Mount which have been left behind. Blackwell's comments fail to acknowledge that most of the growth and investment in the western part of Rocky Mount and Nash County has come from retailers, hotels, restaurants, businesses, and industry which have chosen to invest or locate there. And also from people who have chosen to live there. Not Because of City Projects.

SMDH! Councilman Reuben Blackwell

has been on the council for many years. He came here before becoming a councilman and served as the Chamber of Commerce Director. So he knows the history of Rocky Mount long before he came here because he has done his homework. How ignant to say there has not been major City Projects on the Nash side of Rocky Mount. When certain folks were in office and on staff they directed businesses to the NASH side. Oh well! Some folks just don't want the truth to be made known but I am so glad that others along with myself know better.

Reuben

was NEVER a Chamber DIRECTOR. He was an employee of the Chamber and later joined the board after becoming a Councilman. He is currently the Chairman of the Chamber - which isn't a conflict of interest at all /sarcasm.

What he IS and the rest of the council supporting this unscheduled, non-agenda item - is C O W A R D S!

Like any petty & pitiful small-minded person determined to Get His Way at the expense of others - this item was thrust upon the council and not given fair discussion before the community. Cowardly.

Finally - for Reuben to use such language about what Edgecombe is "owed" get the frak over it! The world owes you nothing. It was here first - make your own way and be on about it. Don't use such ignorant - conceited - despicable - divisive and BS language to hide your nature.

What horsecrap Mr. Blackwell is sputtering about ... really ... is that NOT ENOUGH MONEY HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM THOSE WHO HONESTLY EARNED IT AND GIVEN AWAY TO THE LAZY WRETCHES WITH THEIR HANDS OUT!!!

Cowards.

You are correct

He was never a Chamber Director this article tell you what his role has been as related to the the Chamber. He has served as a member of the Rocky Mount City Council since 2000 and was elected mayor pro-term for 2012. A native of Roxboro, he attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 1980. “I never could find a job in my major, so for me, business was the opportunity that opened up the door for me,” he said. Blackwell has served in a variety of positions on the Chamber. He first came to Rocky Mount from Maryland in 1983 after taking a job at the Chamber. At the time, he was working for Citibank in Baltimore, where he was an employee operations manager for the Mid-Atlantic region. “I was recruited by the Rocky Mount Chamber to come to Rocky Mount to help develop a minority business development program and to work with the small business committee that was already in place and to work with existing industries,” Blackwell said. In 1986, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce recruited him to be assistant vice president of economic development. He came back to Rocky Mount in 1996 to become executive director of the Halifax Edgecombe Wilson Enterprise Alliance, which focuses on economic development programs. In 1998, he became president of OIC. Over the years, he has held many leadership positions in the Chamber, including recently serving as the chair of its education division. “I have been blessed to see almost every side of community you can see,” he said. “I’ve been in business, worked in business. I have been an employee, worked in government. I have lived in Edgecombe and Nash counties and have been able to see things from multiple perspectives.” https://www.rockymounttelegram.com/business/blackwell-touts-regional-approach-business-growth-2356807 Any councilmember can bring things to the table at any given time. Damn again misleading folks about how the council works. Councilman Blackwell's entire letter was on point and I hope everyone get to see the speech in it's entirety. I bet some folks are wondering what he actually stated because the newspaper give you bits and pieces. I dare you to contact him to discuss his speech with you. Nope ain't gonna do that because you are the COWARD!

Curmilus wrote......

"Blackwell has served in a variety of positions on the Chamber. He first came to Rocky Mount from Maryland in 1983 after taking a job at the Chamber. At the time, he was working for Citibank in Baltimore, where he was an employee operations manager for the Mid-Atlantic region. 'I was recruited by the Rocky Mount Chamber to come to Rocky Mount to help develop a minority business development program and to work with the small business committee that was already in place and to work with existing industries,' Blackwell said." You mean to say old Ruben was hired by those mean-spirited money-hungry white men and women back in 1983 to develop a minority business development program? Who would have thought!

Curmilus

According to Curmilus the reason the Nash side of Rocky Mount has grown is because individuals from past administrations directed businesses to go to the Nash side. If anyone believes that then I have some ocean front property in Montana to sell. I suppose Belk decided to move from downtown Rocky Mount to Golden East Mall because they were urged by officials from past administrations. It didn't have to do with where they could make the most money, parking, customer trends in shopping, new store, etc.

Investment

Your well aware that the Nash County and the western part of Rocky Mount have grown over the past few decades. Is that because of City projects????? I don't think so. Businesses, industry along with people have moved to the western part of Rocky Mount. So most of the growth has been due to private investment by people, companies and businesses. Not by government programs and City projects. If more government programs and city projects were the answer then downtown Rocky Mount and Edgecombe County would be rapidly growing.

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