10/24/07 — Area matters: Downtown progress great, but there is still work to do

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Area matters: Downtown progress great, but there is still work to do

Drive through downtown Goldsboro and its environs and you will see lots of reasons why getting aggressive about dilapidated houses, drug-infested neighborhoods and other so-called “bad areas” is so critical.

There are many plans in the works for Goldsboro’s downtown area — and progress has already been pretty significant.

But what those involved with development — and those who are leaders in this community — need to remember is that no matter how beautiful Center Street is — or how many new businesses scurry to buy up property in the new cityscape — the surrounding environment does matter if residents are going to move into a historic home or load up their children and head downtown for dinner and a show.

There is good work being done. The historic home preservation efforts are a form of “take back the neighborhood,” with new residents displacing those who previously lived in rundown homes.

But, unfortunately, as evidenced by the still large number of dilapidated homes and continuing crime reports, there is a whole lot more work to be done.

Eliminating eyesores and scoring more grant money is simply not enough.

To change the face of downtown Goldsboro, we as a community have to deal with the root causes behind the poverty and crime that we see in the area. And we have to let drug dealers and other criminals know that this is not the place to set up shop because this city isn’t going to allow it.

We also have to get tough on those who simply refuse to take care of their properties. Fix them up or tear them down. No excuses. No reprieves.

The future of downtown Goldsboro seems bright. The Paramount is only months away from its debut and the downtown revitalization plan is in full swing — not to mention the commuter rail and depot plans. There is a lot to be proud of — and there are a lot of people who should be thanked for the hard work and time they have put into improving this community.

But for them to continue to be successful, they have to have some support, too. And now, not later, is the time to set the standard. Bright futures aren’t luck. They take hard work and determination by a community. The stage has been set. All we have to do is take up the mantle.

Published in Editorials on October 24, 2007 10:42 AM