11/15/05 — Residents thank city at meeting

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Residents thank city at meeting

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 15, 2005 1:50 PM

At the first of a series of city-sponsored neighborhood meetings, residents of the Kornegay Street area told officials that dilapidated homes were a big concern. They provide sanctuary for thieves and drug dealers, the residents said.

A few days after the September meeting, a particular house pointed out by people living in the area as a problem was demolished by the city.

On Monday, about 30 residents attended a follow-up meeting held by city officials at the Walnut Street School Apartments. They said they came to thank city officials for their help in getting rid of the building and to discuss other problems in their neighborhood.

City Manager Joe Huffman opened the discussion, telling those in attendance that Monday's meeting would be less formal. He encouraged the neighbors to raise new concerns and to comment on progress that has been made by the city in the past few months.

"We appreciate all of you being here," Huffman said. "We're hopeful to have some outcomes tonight that we can all be satisfied with."

Other officials were also present, including Mayor Al King, Councilman Bob Waller and Police Chief Tim Bell, as well as various other department heads.

Waller talked about the importance of community involvement in problem prevention and asked the residents to help city officials identify problems and suggest solutions.

"It's through your efforts that we are going to improve this city," Waller said.

Some neighbors expressed concerns not brought up at the September public meeting.

Some told officials that the city needed to provide more jobs. Others were concerned about dangerous people walking the streets during the late afternoon and evening hours.

"You can't even walk to the store after 5 at night without being scared," one neighbor said.

Shootings and drug deals have many residents frightened, another said.

One neighbor said she is often awakened by someone beating on her bedroom window late at night and early in the morning. She said sometimes it's someone begging for money. Other times, they say they just want to come inside, she said.

"We're afraid to call the police because we're afraid people will come after us," the woman said.

Bell told residents to call 911 when they have a problem. He said the police department offers crime prevention programs that offer safety tips to residents and teach people what to do in those types of situations.

Huffman added that the police need the help of neighbors in order to effectively fight crime.

"We need 39,000 sets of eyes," he said, referring to the city's population.

Other problems discussed at the forum included the job market, public transportation and litter.

Waller responded to questions about the job market, saying that the city currently has many opportunities for people looking for work. He said education is the key to staying employed.

"Go to WCC and get a degree," Waller said. "They have some outstanding people and programs at the college and there are ways to get help paying for it."

The meeting was a follow-up to the first in a series of neighborhood meetings designed by city officials to attack unique problems facing different areas of Goldsboro and to bring city residents together.

The Kornegay Street meeting was the first of two held so far by the city. A second was held in the Maplewood subdivision off North Berkeley Boulevard. The next neighborhood meeting is planned for early next year.

Huffman said the meetings are designed to bring people together to address common issues.

"One of the things we're trying to do is build a sense of community," Huffman said.