03/09/14 — DGDC board president sees downtown progress

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DGDC board president sees downtown progress

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on March 9, 2014 1:50 AM


With stacks of files crowding her office, a bid in for a new, more stressful job and a spoiled Shetland sheepdog, Chance, at home, Assistant District Attorney Terry Light isn't lacking for anything else to soak up her time.

She doesn't need to spend her extra time heading a board of downtown advocates as the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. board president -- but she does.

"My heart is in this community," she said. "I live downtown. I work downtown. I love downtown. It's like downtown is the old soul of a community."

Ms. Light said that an active downtown is the bedrock on which a community sits.

"When it's vital and alive and interesting, it makes the area a better place to be," she said. "It makes me incredibly happy to see this process. It makes me excited."

Ms. Light took over the board from former DGDC President Geoff Hulse last fall for the first of two possible two-year terms.

"I got downtown from Geoff in better condition than he got it in, and I hope I can do the same for the next person," Ms. Light said.

During her time at the head of the table, she expects to see the completion of the Center Street Streetscape through the $10 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant, to develop more partnerships bet-ween downtown and the community and to make downtown more accessible to new businesses.

"The focus is, of course, on the TIGER grant," Ms. Light said. "But we also want to build partnerships across the city and the county for downtown."

Ms. Light said during her time with the board since 2007 she has seen downtown shift in many ways.

One positive change includes the downtown incentive and facade grants offered to fledgling and long-standing businesses.

"We used to search out businesses for these grants," she said. "Now they are becoming very competitive."

The business incentive grant gives money to new businesses to help pay for overhead costs in the first year, and the facade grant is a matching grant to develop a business' curb appeal.

The grants are only one part of making downtown more accessible however, she said.

"We want to have relationships with the property owners and the city and county offices and others to make it easier for these businesses to come downtown," Ms. Light said. "We are going to make downtown the place to be again. We're not going to stop until it is."