Roseboro town officials were thrilled when they watched resident after resident pile into the Roseboro Community Building Tuesday night to participate in the town’s first official N.C. STEP meeting.
“I was very excited to see how many people showed up tonight,” said mayor David Alexander. “A lot of people came that I hadn’t seen before; it was great to see that kind of support.”
Over 45 people crowded into the facility and openly shared their opinions about what projects they wanted the $125,000 N.C. STEP grant,recently awarded to the town, to be used for, with most pointing to the children.
Art Jackson, with N.C. STEP, kicked off the meeting by explaining the details of the grant — $25,000 will be spent on training with the rest of the $100,000 funding implementation of projects that will improve the town, expected over another year’s time.
“We look for communities that are willing to work together,” Jackson stressed. “We are excited about being here and are looking forward to working with you, and that is why we want you to take the time to introduce yourselvesand tell us what your thoughts are and what projects you would like to see this grant spent on.”
It didn’t take long for the crowd to share those thoughts.
“I think we need to have something that involves our youth,” said Amanda Beatty, deputy town clerk. “We need more small businesses and more places to shop.”
Business owner Kelly Black agreed. “Roseboro is a beautiful town. When we first moved here, there was talk about a water park in the Western District, but it never panned out. It’s hot here, I think a swimming hole would be nice.”
Alexander also shared his thoughts, too. “Our kids need to have a place to swim and cool off. Our kids can’t get to White Lake … they need a splash pad and I am working on that.”
Rubestine Potter suggested the town refurbish historic sites, while Sadie Newkirk requested more activities for senior citizens in the town.
“Everybody is important,” Newkirk said. “You can’t leave anyone out.”
“Human beings here are our most valuable asset,” said local electrician Michael Williams. “We need to train our youth to be prepared for the future.”
Roseboro business owner Randy James said things needed to be done to the town to make it look presentable. “We need to do things that will bring people to the town,” he stressed. “If you look long range, this is going to be a bedroom for some place. At the moment, the people that are living in Roseboro know that we compete with towns around Fayetteville … I picture this town as a bedroom place for Fayetteville and therefore we have to do things that are a little different, and it has to be better looking to attract those people. I drive through Salemburg and I admire just how clean it is. You don’t see any raggedy streets or raggedy buildings, those exist here … I think we need to look long range at what we can do to attract people to live here.”
Deborah Davis, who is new to Roseboro, agreed. “I grew up in Baltimore, but I love Roseboro,” she said. “You talk about urban blight, our downtown looks like downtown Baltimore on a smaller scale. Fayetteville is about to boom and I agree with the man (James) the better we look the more people we will bring in.”
In addition to the suggestions from the crowd, including an idea to have a neatest yard in town contest, Jackson split the crowd into eight separate groups and had them write out a mission statement.
He also asked for volunteers to help pick the best mission statement that will begin a discussion about what projects the town wants to put the $100,000 into. That will be announced at the next meeting on Aug. 28 at 6 p.m.
Residents were also asked, as homework, to shoot pictures around town, showing what they like and dislike about the town. The pictures will be presented in PowerPoint form next month.
After just over two hours, Alexander thanked the crowd for coming out and sharing in the dialogue of the future of the town.
“I am so glad we had such a great turnout,” he said after the meeting. “This is their town and it was great to hear so many great ideas. That is what it is all about.”
The group will meet every fourth Tuesday of the month at the Community Center beginning at 6 p.m.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.