Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson delivered the annual State of the City address on Monday, April 17 at the City Council Chamber. His plan for the city is “a vision where everyone wins.”
He began this year’s address by stating “Great things are happening here in the city of Rocky Mount.”
He went on to describe much of the change that is taking place in the city, believing it is for the better. He commented on the positivity and excitement in the air around the city and how people are working together to make the community better for all.
Much of his speech was dedicated to economic developments in the last year, including the $15 million economic impact provided by the Rocky Mount Event Center, which was up from the $8 million impact it generated in 2021.
He also mentioned the economic impact and job creation through CSX and the Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport.
In addition to economic growth, he celebrated housing improvements and programs to create affordable and market-rate housing. He also described the improvements to waste management through the purchasing of 7 new trucks and hiring 10 new employees.
Mayor Roberson mentioned changes to the downtown area, including the addition of 50 new apartments and the approval of the pedestrian bridge to prevent downtown visitors from being blocked by stopped trains. He also noted that many significant events like Easter Eggstravaganza, Downtown Live!, the Juneteenth Community Empowerment Festival, the Eastern North Carolina BBQ Throw Down, and the Rocky Mount Christmas Parade returned to downtown last year.
He emphasized that his number one priority is creating safer neighborhoods, and while he celebrated success, he noted that “we cannot let up in our fight to reduce crime.” In order to help with this, he mentioned the need for more police officers. He also described the need to provide mental health support and improve food security, graduation rates, and healthcare resources to help prevent crime.
While he celebrated positive changes, he commented that there is room for businesses to capitalize on downtown opportunities when large numbers of visitors are gathered through themed events, pop-up shops in vacant buildings, hotel shuttles, and more that can generate interest and excitement downtown.
Mayor Roberson closed his address by inviting citizens to his office at 8 a.m. on May 4 to pray for the city.