03/06/12 — Council delays vote on Center Street

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Council delays vote on Center Street

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on March 6, 2012 1:46 PM

The city will again wait on deciding the fate of its signature downtown revitalization project after the Goldsboro City Council decided Monday to delay a vote on the Center Street Streetscape until Friday.

The council didn't hold any true discussion on the matter, deciding quickly to delay a decision on the project, which has been discussed since last summer.

"It doesn't need any discussion," Mayor Pro Tempore Chuck Allen said. "It needs to be voted on, but I think it needs to be voted on when all of the council members are here."

District 1 Councilman Michael Headen is out of town this week, but will return Thursday.

The project aims to renovate the 200 north block of Center Street by widening the sidewalks and median and creating a path between the roads as well as planting new trees.

City Manager Scott Stevens reminded the council that the bids and financing options needed to be decided by Friday, so the council moved, 6-0, to delay the decision until the meeting reconvenes that day at 4 p.m. in the chambers.

While the council didn't discuss the Streetscape, one mayoral candidate did, however, as Henry Jinnette addressed the council members during the public comment period.

He recounted various decisions the council had made that he disagreed with before asking them to reconsider the Streetscape, citing business closures as a reason to not renovate Center Street.

Jinnette then addressed Allen directly, saying it was time for an end to his "circus" and "clowns."

As Jinnette left the podium, Allen said he was glad for his patience, and none of the council members responded directly to the remarks until the end of the meeting.

District 4 Councilman the Rev. Charles Williams addressed the matter during his report -- during which he revealed he had understood Jinnette's comments to mean all of the council members were "clowns." He said he didn't understand how a minister could say things like that and defended the council's actions, saying the council members make the best decisions they can to benefit the city.

"To call us clowns is unequivocally preposterous," he said.

Following that, neither Allen nor Mayor Al King had anything to add.

"I will not say anything since it has already been said," King said before recessing the meeting.