The Twin Counties certainly had more than its fair share of ups and downs throughout the past 12 months.
The area experienced several high-profile, contentious struggles during 2012. Opponents and supporters of a proposed poultry processing plant faced off during a long and sometimes bitter fight over the project, while residents of the Oak Level community found new allies in the N.C. General Assembly in their fight against annexation into the Rocky Mount city limits. In the end – after much heated rhetoric, legal wrangling and other maneuvers – poultry plant opponents and Oak Level residents prevailed in their efforts.
The Twin Counties were plagued by tragedy as well during the year, as residents joined in shared grief over a murder-suicide at a popular restaurant, the senseless murder of a Nash County deputy in Kinston and the tragic slaying of an N.C. Highway Patrol trooper on U.S. 64.
But the news was not all bad in 2012. A brand-new, state-of-the-art Rocky Mount High School opened its doors to students this year. The city’s $8 million Douglas Block renovation project reached its zenith as the last tenant space was filled near year’s end. The downtown Streetscape project made significant progress in its sidewalk and street renovations designed to make the downtown area more attractive.
Despite significant job losses accompanying the PNC purchase of RBC Bank and the closing of Merita Interstate Brands bakery after the bakery’s parent company, Hostess, decided to liquidate its properties nationwide, other companies announced plans for new hiring, including Hospira, Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant and Draka Elevator.
Throughout the triumphs and tribulations that occurred throughout the year, local residents enjoyed the good and endured the bad together, emerging from a difficult year stronger and looking forward with hope and optimism toward a new year.