Letter to the editor: Now’s the time to beautify bottom of Depot Hill

Published 4:10 pm Friday, August 6, 2021

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To the editor:

Nearly 30 supporters, in opposition to a rezoning request, showed up at the August Mocksville Town Board meeting. The commissioners were faced with the question whether the request was consistent with the 2019 Comprehensive Plan.

Among a number of things, the Comprehensive Plan provides a vision for the future growth and well-being of our community and gathers a broad range of community values and desires. I never thought the word defer could sound so good; the vote was music to my ears.

Area residents, proprietors, patrons and church members were caught off guard by the Wayne Farms’ request to rezone the property at East Depot and Williams Street to Special Purpose. The wording of the zoning request includes… “the land use may constitute health or safety hazards; may have an impact on the use and enjoyment of nearby property; and may generate noise, smoke, fumes, odors, vibration, commercial vehicle traffic or similar nuisances.”

Coverage by WXII brought our rezoning concerns to a broader audience. Through the lens of a television camera, we saw an empty lot where the iconic Martin Brothers Store once stood; but look at what is still standing. The man behind the camera couldn’t have known all he had captured when he focused on the building with the sign: Corinthian Lodge #17. This historic building houses space for the Prince Hall Masons plus space for the proprietors and patrons of Mahogani Ami, Hair Solutions, C&D Express and Wax Pros.

Memories are invisible; yet, images of faces and sounds of voices from the area still linger. They are part of our local Black (Mini-Wall Street) legacy. Those memories, a concern for the well-being of the current residents and the will of disturbed citizens was motivation enough to persevere.

Appreciation is due the speakers, commissioners, 150 petitioners, those who worked behind the scenes, and those I’ve forgotten. Appreciation also goes out to the lawyer for Wayne Farms and our town manager, who are committed to having a conversation about the site.

Looking to the future, the time seems right to seriously look at some ideas for the bottom of the hill like demolition, beautification, green spaces, a historical marker, a mural, a welcome center or other project(s) that fit the Comprehensive Plan of 2019.

Alice Brown,    Mocksville