The event center is big talk in Rocky Mount and the newspaper, so we should market the event center. Marketing was part of my career in the hospitality business, so I should be able to market Rocky Mount after living here for 30 years. Rocky Mount has Interstate 95, U.S. 64 and U.S. 301 as major roads, but if the event center is located downtown, it does not have the roadways to support 1,000 to 5,000 cars without upgrading. This will cost millions of dollars, and local traffic is not counted and would be on top of the $50 million to build the center. Next, we must look at hotels and restaurants, which are in short supply in the center of the city and would take years to build or find investors even if we gave them all visas.
The hotels and restaurants we have could not handle all the new business plus their normal clients, so we would have to ship the clients and revenue to other cities and counties until development can catch up.
Sights to see in Rocky Mount while visiting for two or more days: We have City Lake and Battle Park plus the children’s park. We can walk along the Tar River trail or fish at the reservoir. Now they can go shopping at our small malls with all the major stores we have, while local people shop in Raleigh or Wilson.
They could ride around the city’s center to look at our historic buildings and great housing that our citizens have to live in. Now that we have marketed Rocky Mount, let us compare it to a city that Mr. Penny likes to mention – Asheville.
They have just a few things to mention such as the Vanderbilt estate and resort or the Grove Park Inn resort or the Blue Ridge Mountains or Grandfather Mountain or many lakes and streams or a casino within 60 miles. These are just a few reasons that Asheville draws thousands of visitors each year. Now let us look at Durham because it has been mentioned many times.
The tobacco warehouses converted to condos and stores and the DPAC were mentioned. Durham has more than 2 million people living in a 30-mile radius, plus the Research Triangle Park, which has many major companies. It has many universities and major hospitals in its 30-mile radius, plus many sites for visitors to visit. We do not have 300,000 people in 30 miles. We cannot compare to the coast in any way or form. We do have to beach bingo houses, but no video sweepstakes place – they are in Roanoke Rapids.
I do not want to look down on my city, but we do not have the drawing tools for an event center or industries.
Big changes and improvements need to be made before we can take on this debt, even if they sell it to other countries or give visas to outsiders like we are selling our future and our children’s future. Our City Council wants to know why we do not trust them. Read the paper. You will see that they are not raising our taxes but will charge more for everything else.