Garysburg lists its needs

Published 7:21 pm Friday, October 25, 2019

GARYSBURG – Housing and recreation dominated the discussion between the Northampton County Commissioners and the Garysburg Town Board here Monday, Oct. 21.

Since April, the county commissioners have held several joint meetings with towns throughout Northampton. Garysburg was the latest municipality to host the discussion about issues important to their part of the county.

“This is a sharing session. We want everyone involved in what we do,” said Northampton Board Chair Charles Tyner.

Garysburg Mayor Roy Bell opened the conversation with an overview of what the town has to offer and what projects they’d like to expand and add in the future.

The town’s former elementary school building now serves as the Garysburg Community Center, housing the volunteer public library, the twice-monthly farmer’s market, the youth basketball league, and more. Beside the community center is a walking trail and playground, which Bell said they hope to eventually expand through grants. He also said they were looking into different funding sources to develop a commercial kitchen to assist various businesses and groups in the area.

Town Commissioner Semiko Jacobs talked about the youth basketball league which runs from February to May each year, usually hosting over 100 children ranging from 4 to 12 years old.

“The youth basketball league is phenomenal,” Jacobs said. “It’s a really great turnout.”

Jacobs said they’d like to continue to see more parents involved with the league. She also noted other offerings such as a new dance group and library activities.

“This is not just a Garysburg endeavor,” added Bell, who noted that children come from all parts of Northampton County as well as Halifax County to participate in the basketball league. “We’re trying to provide services for the citizens of Northampton County. It just happens to be housed in Garysburg.”

Town Commissioner Woodrow Harding, Jr. spoke briefly about town-sponsored activities for senior citizens, while Mayor Pro-Tem Lola Ausby talked about how the town carefully keeps an eye on its finances to help the citizens. Town Commissioner Iris Williams praised Garysburg’s police department for its dedication to keeping people safe.

But the number one priority for the town is housing, according to Bell. He explained they were looking into different options, such as purchasing land to construct new housing or converting part of the former school building into apartments.

In response, Tyner said housing is an important part of the county commissioners’ strategic plan. Though they are working currently to develop new housing in Jackson, he said they wanted to help all the municipalities, including Garysburg, on this issue.

“There’s got to be a partnership,” Tyner emphasized about getting the work done. “We can all do better if we all work together.”

Tyner mentioned that they’d like to help out with recreation programs and senior citizen activities as well, not to take them over but to increase what they already have in place. Commissioner Nicole Boone chimed in to express her desire to assist with recreation programs.

“We’re willing to partner with anyone that is willing to enhance the standard of living for our citizens in Northampton County,” said Mayor Bell.

The county commissioners’ upcoming joint meetings include one with the Halifax County Commissioners at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7 at Halifax Community College, and another with the Conway Town Board at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18 at the Conway Volunteer Fire Department.