With reference to the headline “City Ranks on Two Top 10 Lists” in Sunday’s Rocky Mount Telegram, I would like to make a few remarks.
In one ranking, we have been ranked as one of the worst crime cities in the country compared to cities of the same size, and in the other ranking, we were ranked second in exceptional markets in the South to relocate restored traditional industry.
Who in their right mind is going to entertain such a city for their company when they have many others to choose from? I can assure you of one thing, businesses looking to relocate are much more concerned with the overall health of the city such as crime rates, unity, is the city progressing, and what are the city’s priorities.
It is pretty evident at this time that the proposed event center is the city’s No. 1 priority, which is creating a lot of division. The direction and success of this city is governed by the mayor, city manager and City Council, and it is also pretty evident we are not headed in the right direction. Was there any consideration given to other locations for the event center?
The city leaders are so intent on locating it downtown they have lost all sensibility concerning what is good for Rocky Mount.
I have lived here all my life and would like to see the downtown area like it used to be, but it is not now, nor will it ever be what it once was.
It certainly has the potential for small shops, but I feel it is highly unlikely that it will attract any hotels, motels or large businesses that will draw a lot of traffic. An event center downtown will not attract the new businesses that the city anticipates. I have been in the commercial real estate business for the past 50-plus years, and we take a lot into account before a final decision is made.
To my knowledge, the city leaders are only considering one location. How about considering the whole of Rocky Mount as opposed to one area?
At this time, I personally do not think we should build an event center as we have too many critical issues facing us.
First of all, the city leaders need to get their priorities in the correct order. The obvious one is crime. The safety of our citizens and their quality of life should be of utmost importance.
The city says we are improving, but obviously, Movoto, the national real estate research site, ranks us as the fourth-most dangerous city of its size in the country. Do we really think prospective businesses will seriously consider us?
We have also become a divided city. To some people, it is always a black and white issue. We need leaders in our community who do their homework and get the best results for all individuals and the community.
We can get this city back again on the right track, but it will not just happen. We need strong leadership.
Remember when Rocky Mount was named an All-America city in 1970 and then again in 1999. What happened? In those years, the city was unified.
Mayo Boddie Sr.