By Tameka Kenan-Norman, City of Rocky Mount NC
The city of Rocky Mount was recently awarded an AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) project team. The city submitted a successful project proposal to have a team of NCCC members — who are highly skilled in light construction and landscaping work — come to Rocky Mount and improve the curb appeal of some of the city’s downtown neighborhoods, namely Southeast Rocky Mount and Villa Place.
These historic neighborhoods have a high concentration of vacant and blighted properties, many of which are boarded up and have seen little to no maintenance in many years. Many residents of the community have expressed concerns about the unsightly appearance of the plywood boards, overgrown shrubbery and the general unkempt look of neglected properties.
The goal of the NCCC City of Rocky Mount Community Curb Appeal Project is to beautify streets by utilizing volunteers to make aesthetic improvements to properties. The anticipated outcomes of this project will be to create more appealing neighborhoods, generate community pride, improve morale for residents and attract investor interest.
Improvements that the NCCC team will perform include painting plywood to look like windows and doors, painting street numbers on the curb, cutting back overgrown vegetation, painting light fixtures, and other general maintenance such as debris and graffiti removal.
“The partnership between NCCC and the city will add staff capacity to help improve the appearance of properties in the neighborhoods identified,” said Tasha Logan Ford, assistant city manager. “I appreciate the partnership with our Neighborhood Presidents and how they continue to serve as advocates for what they would like to see in the community. While there are many housing needs to address, the collaboration with NCCC is one of many incremental steps we can take to begin to foster improvements to some areas and provide residents with a more attractive and enjoyable neighborhood.”
Team members will stay at a city-owned and operated facility, the Rocky Mount Senior Center, during their service term. The team will be here from March 5 through April 17. After successful completion of this project, the city plans to apply for additional project teams to perform work in additional neighborhoods.
According to the website nationalservice.gov, “AmeriCorps NCCC strengthens communities and develops leaders through direct, team-based national and community service.”