12/02/04 — Speaker to focus on city preservation

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Speaker to focus on city preservation

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on December 2, 2004 1:59 PM

A commitment to preservation combined with forming public-private partnerships is key to maintaining downtown Goldsboro and the area's historic landmarks, says a developer from Washington, D.C.

"Goldsboro is a model for other cities; it has held on to its Main Street despite suburban sprawl," said Merrick T. Malone, who will be the keynote speaker at the third annual Speakers Forum.

The event is sponsored by Goldsboro Mayor Al King and the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. The free event will be at the Paramount Theater on Wednesday from noon to 1:30 p.m.

This will be Malone's fourth trip to Goldsboro. King and Julie Thompson, DGDC executive director, gave him a tour of the city earlier this year. He is considering buying a home in the historic district.

Malone has spent a majority of his career working in urban areas, but is from the small town of Alliance, Ohio, which has similar characteristics to Goldsboro. He said Goldsboro has the right vision of keeping its downtown area the focal point of the city while adapting to the surrounding larger retail stores.

He said the DGDC has done a good job of encouraging more activity downtown, which should be a place where people of all races and incomes from the area and surrounding counties come together to meet, work and play.

Developing public-private partnerships is key for education, public safety and economic development. City and county governments have to invest their resources and time to attract small and large businesses, which generates tax revenue.

Governments should continue to use any block grant, federal money or other assets to attract private capital, he added.

Malone said there needs to be a strong relationship between a city and its surrounding counties, particularly in the areas of transportation, water and sewer, and economic development.

Showcasing and preserving the area's history is also important. It symbolizes the rich history of the area and attracts tourists who go to local hotels and restaurants.

Malone lives in Fort Washington, Md. He is a principal in Metropolis Development Co., which is a Washington, D.C.-based development firm that focuses on new construction and urban rehabilitation projects.

He has over 20 years of urban real estate and economic development experience. He has served as a consultant to governments, private companies and community development corporations in several large cities.

Malone served as the deputy mayor for economic development and the director of housing and community development for the District of Columbia from 1992 to 1996. He led the District to the successful completion of the new MCI Sports Arena and assisted with the development of the $30 million Black Entertainment Television Corporate Offices and Studio.

Seating is limited for the event, so people are encouraged to call for reservations. However, reservations are not required.

For more information or to reserve a spot, call the DGDC at 735-4959. Light refreshments will be served.

"You will not want to miss this opportunity. Mr. Malone offers his expertise on how to improve our community with limited resources and partnerships created by the public and private sector, and it is offered to you for free," said Mrs. Thompson.