I’m trying really hard to keep on the sunny side of my Rocky Mount life (see my last entry). I’d intended to post cheerful book reviews today of what I’ve recently read.
But my thoughts about Where the Crawdads Sing and The Perfect Nanny will just have to wait. I feel compelled to talk about what’s going on with our city government–and what isn’t.
According to an article in Friday’s Rocky Mount Telegram (February 8, 2019), there’s trouble brewing about downtown sites for hotels. It seems Carlton House developers are waiting on a $55,000 grant to support renovations. In order for developers to receive the money, city officials have to complete paperwork.
When our controversial Community and Business Development Director Landis Faulcon was asked why Carlton House developers had not received the grant money, her response was, “I’m not in the loop.”
Are you kidding me? This woman is being paid $120,000 a year. Of course, maybe it is hard to be in the loop when you live in Virginia Beach instead of the community where you are supposed to be in charge of COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.
Okay, to make me even crazier, the Telegram reports that while there’s a delay in the development money for the Carlton House project, “city administrators have furiously been putting together a deal for a hotel at the Event Center. ”
Speculation is the hotel location will be the site of the St. John A.M.E. Zion Church, which sits right on the Event Center parking lot–believe me, I went down there and looked.
I took the picture below sitting in the parking lot of the Event Center.
To be honest, I wouldn’t mind staying in a quaint hotel that was once a historic church. I mean, look at those stained glass windows. Of course, I have no idea whether the church will be renovated or torn down and a Holiday Inn built there.
The problem is the perception of favoritism. Why is the City holding up one developer and lobbying for another?
The most bizarre aspect of the Event Center to me is what I call Andre’s Church, situated smack-dab in the middle of the parking lot of the Event Center, as it has been since Day One. Owned by the family of Councilman Andre Knight, the official name of this structure is the Holy Hope Heritage Center.
Would somebody from City Council please explain to me why this structure is sitting where parking spaces would logically be expected? And here are some other questions I have:
Who’s conducting that independent study of our City Manager, Ms. Rochelle Small -Toney? When will those results be made public? If there was no lawsuit (according to the Mayor), then why was John Jesso paid $40,000? Why do City Council members not recuse themselves when votes are taken on issues that could be seen as a conflict of interest?
I could go on and on–why in the name of common sense was Rochelle Small-Toney hired in the first place?–but I feel myself slipping into despair.
It’s really hard to stay on the sunny side with so many questions and a city council that won’t come up with answers.