After months of speculation and discussion, the Rocky Mount City Council will open the floor to the public for its thoughts on a proposed event center for downtown.
A public hearing has been set for 6 p.m. April 21. That’s two weeks from today. It should make for one lively evening.
Since almost the very first mention of the proposal, the Telegram has received Speak Up calls, Letters to the Editor, story comments at rockymounttelegram.com and plenty more communication about the idea. It’s safe to say it has been the most talked about local news event since the Sanderson Farms proposal in Southern Nash County.
So far, those who are opposed to the center have raised their voices the loudest. Most of the support we’ve heard for the plan has come from City Manager Charles Penny and members of the City Council who believe an event center would be one more resource to draw local folks as well as outside visitors to downtown.
The public hearing should offer a good sense of how Rocky Mount residents feel about the plan. Some of the attention will center on the location of the proposed center. But a lot of people wonder how the city would pay for such a facility, particularly since similar venues in other cities often operate at annual deficits that reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Here’s hoping there’s a strong turnout for the hearing and thoughtful arguments on both sides of the issue. We’re equally hopeful that members of the City Council will listen carefully to all sides and make their decision in the best interests of their constituents.