03/18/14 — Council defers grant decision

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Council defers grant decision

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on March 18, 2014 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro City Council deferred a decision Monday night on whether to apply for a second $10 million federal grant to help improve downtown.

Goldsboro Mayor Al King asked that the discussion be deferred to allow him time to review the information presented to the Council in his absence March 10.

The Council is debating applying for a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER VI grant to renovate Union Station, complete Center Street Streetscape and fund renovations to expand Cornerstone Commons.

If the city pursued the minimum level of $10 million in funding, then it would be required to put up a $2.89 million match.

Despite the delay, a host of downtown advocates came forward to urge the Council to continue to seek the funding.

"I cannot imagine being offered $10 million and not taking it," David Quick said. "I strongly support this. Our main concern is the train station."

Quick said he is looking forward to passenger rail returning to Goldsboro, adding that the city should not stop now.

Ruth Glisson, owner of Uniquely R's shop on Center Street and self-proclaimed "downtown cheerleader," pleaded with the Council to pursue the next round of TIGER VI funding.

"This is the last thing," she said. "It would be so great to be the little town that is, not was."

Jay and Amy Bauer spoke up during the meeting about their reasons for moving downtown and the improvements they have seen.

"This part of town has gone way down, way down," Bauer said. "But it's coming back. Don't stop that."

The Bauers are part of the effort to renovate historical dilapidated homes bordering downtown that have been vacant for years.

They plan to begin work on other homes in the area in the coming months.

"Come on, guys," Mrs. Bauer said. "If you stop now, the town will die."

Allison Platt, who designed the first block of Center Street Streetscape in front of City Hall, spoke up about the increase in the tax base projects like the Union Station renovation could mean.

She said if the city would make these improvements, it would draw people to the area and mean more money for other concerns in the city such as road improvements.

New downtown business owner, Torrey Romero of Emiline's Candy Emporium, said she remembers a city that she says went into decline following the closing of its train station.

"That little city was Detroit," she said. "Things went down after they closed their train station. I don't want that here."

No action was taken on the issue Monday night but it is expected to come up ahead of the deadline to apply next month.

Following a public hearing, the Goldsboro City Council passed a resolution annexing a property at the corner of Wayne Memorial Drive and Tommy's Road.

The plot is proposed to be the new site of a Walmart Neighborhood Market, which will offer groceries in a smaller setting than a traditional Walmart.

The site will be served by city water and the annexation will become official March 31.

A petition for annexation was received by the city for another Walmart Neighborhood Market to be built near the intersection of U.S. 70 and N.C. 111 South.

The city clerk will review the petition before a public hearing is held on the issue.