Roseboro town commissioners held a meeting this past Thursday to discuss the need for more housing in Roseboro. According to mayor David Alexander, the need for more housing became evident to the town board during the town’s recent STEP meetings.
Commissioner Richard Barefoot explained that attractive housing needs to be available, particularly in and around downtown, an area the commissioners would like to see grow and thrive.
“I think this is a good opportunity to give Roseboro the big shot in the arm it needs. It will help bring people into downtown and money into the community,” stressed Barefoot. “It will help the town flourish because right now it is kind of at a stalemate like it was a few years ago.”
“Hopefully, it will inspire business owners in the downtown area,” added commissioner Anthony Bennett.
Barefoot agreed, saying that businesses like coffee shops would be great for downtown, but that there needs to be more foot traffic for those kinds of businesses to thrive.
“We’ve got to step outside the box and do something different. It’s like with the restaurant,” explained Barefoot, who owns Railroad Street Steakhouse in Roseboro, “f I keep doing the same thing, I’ll keep getting the same thing.”
“It will help our business growth,” noted commissioner Alice Butler, describing the combination of additional housing and a prosperous downtown as “going hand in hand.”
Yes, it all ties together,” Barefoot agreed, pointing out that downtown would make a great place for people to live because so many things — schools, businesses, restaurants, groceries, the park — are all within walking distance.
“I think we are at a critical point,” said commissioner Roland Hall. “It seems like we’re halfway where we need to be. I think we can all agree that there needs to be more housing but there’s no documentation to back it up.”
Hall then recommended that the town board look into getting a housing study done in order to find out the town’s exact needs, the type of housing that would be most beneficial, and the appropriate price range. “It’s demographic information that we need to know and it would be beneficial to developers as well.”
As the board discussed the types of housing that might be built, Barefoot shared that he is specifically thinking about the construction of town homes and condos.
“I’m not enthused with apartments. I would like to see ownership,” said Barefoot, adding that “with the four lane, we are not that far from Fayetteville, but we don’t have anything to offer families.If we want to be a part of the growth that Hwy. 24 is going to bring, then we need to do something along these lines.”
While Butler agreed she also pointed out that even though the town does want to retain its younger citizens, “we are an older community so that’s something to think about.”
The board’s talked eventually turned to housing in the areas surrounding downtown as well.
“We need to be in dream mode,” urged commissioner Hall. “We need to keep looking down the road. If we sit here and do nothing, we’ll get nothing.”
After noting that there are many locations ideal for development, the commissioners refocused their discussion on downtown Roseboro, agreeing that their first priority needed to be filling downtown and then expanding outward.
“I think that (housing downtown) will make this (housing surrounding the downtown area) happen,” said Barefoot.
As they discussed the terms of selling land to a potential developer, the board decided they would need to meet with their attorney to find out what kinds of conditions can be placed in the agreement.
“Can we put something in there saying that if the developer doesn’t do anything with it within say a year that we can then regain possession?” asked Hall. “There’s a lot of twist and turns the attorney will have to guide us through.”
Eager to get the project underway, Hall mentioned that “we’ve got enough land that the town owns that we can go ahead and get something started. All the infrastructure is already in place.”
Going back to his recommendation of a housing study, Hall asked the board if there was money still available from the town’s planning grant that could be used for the study.
“There should be some left, I hope so,” said Butler. “And that would be fine, housing is a part of planning.”
In time for the next town meeting, the board plans to get confirmation that planning grant money is available for use and to find out who they need to contact about conducting a housing study.
“We’ve made progress and I think the general feeling is that we have turned a corner. People seem to be waiting for the next step,” said Hall. “Construction would send a clear signal that we’re open for business and want to grow.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.