State of Ahoskie

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Part 1 of a series

AHOSKIE – At a public meeting here last week, town officials reflected on how the success enjoyed in 2023 will help the town move forward in 2024.

Ahoskie Mayor Weyling White led off the State of the Town address on Jan. 11. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Ahoskie Mayor Weyling White led off those remarks at the meeting held Jan. 11 at the Ahoskie Fire Department. He was followed by Town Councilman David Hunt, Police Chief Michele Garrett, and Interim Town Manager Jennifer Bracy.

“Many of you who have read headlines of violence here in our town and looked at our debt, or felt like our direction is stagnant here in Ahoskie,” said White at the outset of his remarks. “Well, I’m here today to assure you that the light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly. While there are challenges that are ahead, I’m certainly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish thus far.”

White stressed that 2024 “looks promising.” But before taking a look ahead, the second-term mayor talked about the progress the town made in 2023.

The community engagement highlights of last year included celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the formation of Hertford County United – numerous local individuals, organizations, law enforcement, and the faith-based community that took a stand against gun violence through prayer marches in Ahoskie and Murfreesboro – and hosting community forums to solicit feedback on ways to move Ahoskie forward, to include a Stop the Violence Summit.

In regards to lowering the number of violent crimes in town, White noted that the Ahoskie Town Council approved more overtime pay for the police department in an effort to have more officers patrolling the streets in high crime areas.

Another community engagement project that occurred in 2023 centered on fighting hunger. Two such events took place: a food giveaway this past summer and a turkey giveaway in November.

White added that Ahoskie partnered in 2023 with the North Carolina Small Business Program to help local business owners.

“I’m happy to report that in 2023 we registered 22 new businesses here in Ahoskie and so far in the current fiscal year we’ve registered 10 new businesses with plenty more to come,” White noted.

Town officials also partnered in 2023 with Resources for Resilience, which offered training designed to provide tools to stay well in the face of adversity and be able to recognize how an individual’s body reacts to trauma and stress.

2023 also saw the town reestablish its Recreation Department, hiring a full-time director.

“We are very excited to provide recreational opportunities for our youth,” White stated. “Last year we had 121 young people to register for our youth basketball program and we’ve increased that number this year to 174. With our youth baseball and softball programs, we registered 430 kids last year. I need to thank the volunteer coaches that helped with that program. We also hosted our first ever Tar Heel League District Softball Tournament last year and that went extremely well at our beautiful fields.”

Another avenue used by town officials to provide a safe haven for local children is the Ahoskie Youth Center, located on Main Street adjacent to the police department.

“We have after school programs and teen nights there,” White said, adding that new programs at the Youth Center begin Feb. 5.

The town also hosted a Fall Fling in 2023 that was well attended, despite the rainy weather, and featured numerous activities and vendors.

In his closing remarks, White announced that the town is now offering Connect Ahoskie, an app that can downloaded to a smartphone, which will provide announcements about upcoming events as well as offering an alternative way to pay a town water bill.

He added that the town was currently engaged in a project that will erect streetlights in areas where no such lighting currently exists.

Next: Town Councilman David Hunt highlights other town accomplishments during 2023.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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