08/07/07 — Council approves downtown roadmap

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Council approves downtown roadmap

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on August 7, 2007 1:45 PM

The Goldsboro City Council adopted a master plan Monday night for the continued renewal of downtown.

"It is with great pride that I come before you tonight to ask you to adopt the downtown master plan," Julie Thompson, director of the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp., told council members at the start of her presentation.

After voting unanimously to approve the plan, council members expressed gratitude for the work put into it and anticipation of what it can do for the city.

"I'm very excited about the plan," Council member Jimmy Bryan said. "Thank goodness it finally has happened. It's amazing what can happen when you have a plan, and that's a good thing. It's very good stuff."

Mayor Pro-Tem Chuck Allen thanked Mrs. Thompson and the DGDC for all their hard work, and said he hopes "folks get interested in downtown."

Mrs. Thompson pointed out that parts of the plan will not be able to be implemented for years, but that getting approval from the council is the first step toward accomplishing all of the goals contained in the proposal that took more than a year to develop.

"The reality of it is that we don't expect to see all of this completed right now," she said.

Mrs. Thompson noted that Allison Platt, an urban designer who helped come up with the plan, has publicly said that Goldsboro's downtown area has the most potential for redevelopment of any town she has worked with in both North and South Carolina.

Ms. Platt has said she found Goldsboro to be something of a diamond in the rough, Mrs. Thompson noted, "almost to the point that she is thinking about relocating herself right now."

But while extolling the promise the plan brings, Mrs. Thompson also warned the council that much work remains to be done.

"Allison said that our strength was also our weakness, and that's the surrounding historic residential neighborhoods," she said.

Council member Bob Waller asked Mrs. Thompson to discuss the DGDC's redevelopment efforts downtown.

She said the DGDC has started to revitalize three downtown neighborhoods by buying 11 houses and selling all but one of them to people who want to repair them and preserve their history. The corporation recently acquired 12 more houses to sell with hopes of restoring them to their original glory.

This month or next, she said, construction is expected to begin on affordable homes on John Street that will "blend into historic character and design," Mrs. Thompson added.

She said she hopes to be able to work with Ms. Platt to use the plan for the John Street homes as a guide for corporations moving into other neighborhoods.

In other business, Stuber Enterprises requested a permit to allow the operation of an animal hospital on the southwest corner of Graves Drive and Malloy Street. The permit was granted.

Council also approved the rezoning of property on the east side of Bryant Street between Eunice Street and Royall Avenue from general industry to residential.

Several conditional land use permits were approved by the council at Monday's meeting. Katelyn Murphy was granted a permit to allow kennels and pet boarding on her property on South Berkeley Boulevard between Elm Street and Ash Street. Neil S. Weeks' property located on the south side of U.S. Highway 70 West between U.S. Highway 117 and the Little River received a permit to allow retail sales with outdoor storage. Site and landscape plans for Prince Avenue Apartments, A Small Miracle, Gail Rivera Restaurant, Wayne Christian School and Starbucks at Memorial Commons also were approved.

The council also gave its OK to a 45-lot preliminary subdivision plat for Spring Garden subdivision.

Council members also approved expansion of the Police Department's budget for anti-drug work, renamed Jefferson Street to Jefferson Avenue, appointed Johnathan Evans to the board of directors of the Stoney Creek Park Alliance and approved the installation of audio-visual equipment for the City Hall renovation.