09/16/08 — Good first step: City officials make smart decision on South John Street

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Good first step: City officials make smart decision on South John Street

What do you do when an area of your community has an image problem and people are starting to doubt the good work that is being accomplished there?

First, you try to find out why they feel that way -- and then you do something about it.

The decision made Monday night by Goldsboro City Council will not put an end to doubts some residents seem to have about the viability of the downtown revitalization efforts. It won't erase the fact that there is more work to do to get shoppers to frequent downtown businesses.

But it is a start.

Mayor Al King advised council members that it was time to do more than talk about some of the dilapidated houses along South John Street. He asked council members and other city officials to issue a warning that the portion of the street with rundown buildings was next on his target list.

And, to their credit, city council members agreed. Now, property owners who have ignored or escaped warnings for a number of years are on notice that action needs to be taken, right away.

So, soon, there will be more houses and buildings on the demolish list -- and fewer reasons to think the downtown area is not an up and coming place to live, work and play.

This kind of tough talk is what Goldsboro and Wayne County residents need to see -- and will be the first small steps to erasing some of the preconceptions of the city's new downtown.

And like it or not, what people see as they drive down the streets that surround the target area and what they read about crime in some of the other neighborhoods just down the road really does matter.

Targeting several houses on South John and continuing to push other residents to do their part are signs that City Council is serious about its commitment to improving the outlook for the downtown area.

And despite what some might think, pushing for more and better for downtown Goldsboro is not a sign that the tide has turned and that there is sentiment to stop the progress.

It is just a challenge to spend money more wisely and to stay on track.

By making sure the project is stable and the community has plenty of buy-in, Goldsboro can become a destination city. But those big dreams will only come true if its leadership is determined enough and brave enough to make the hard choices and to dream big.

Published in Editorials on September 16, 2008 12:27 PM