State of Ahoskie

Published 2:59 pm Friday, January 19, 2024

Part 2 of a series

AHOSKIE – At a public meeting here Jan. 11, town officials reflected on how the success enjoyed in 2023 will help the town move forward in 2024.

David Hunt, a member of the Ahoskie Town Council, provided an update of what the town’s governing board was able to accomplish in 2023. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Town Councilman David Hunt was among the Ahoskie officials making remarks at the public meeting held at the Ahoskie Fire Department.

“This council is putting Ahoskie’s name out there on a state and national level,” Hunt stated. “We’ve joined the National League of Cities and attended a meeting in Atlanta. We got our name in front of thousands. We met people from all over. We also attended a meeting with the North Carolina League of Municipalities.”

Hunt noted that the Town of Ahoskie is part of the Mid East Commission, an agency that assists towns in Beaufort, Bertie, Hertford, Martin, and Pitt counties with professional technical assistance services from its Planning, Economic Development and Community Services Department, Workforce Development, and Area Agency on Aging.

“They help us secure grants and other types of funding,” Hunt said.

Ahoskie Council members have met face-to-face with the local area’s representation in the North Carolina General Assembly. As a result of those meetings, Hunt said the town received $705,000 last fall as part of the biennial state budget.

Hunt noted that the town council approved a downtown social district last year to encourage economic development.

Hunt added that the council just recently approved another round of funding for its Façade Grant Program. Those grants are for businesses along Main Street (or within one block of Main) that can be used to make minor repairs and painting, roof work, and for substantial façade renovations on buildings used as commercial businesses or offices. The application deadline is Feb. 8.

“We have nearly $43,000 in that fund to help local businesses make improvements to their buildings,” Hunt noted.

As far as a broader scope to economic development, Hunt said the town was working closely with the Hertford County Economic Development board of directors to seek out different industries that may have an interest in locating to the local area.

“We will provide more updates soon about that effort,” Hunt said.

Another effort undertaken recently by the Ahoskie Town Council is the formation of a Town Charter Committee. Hunt was this is necessary as the town’s 125-plus year-old charter is in need of revision “for modern times.”

“One thing I’m hoping we can do is to have more than one [council] meeting per month,” Hunt stated. “With us growing at such a fast pace, it’s hard to handle all of our business at just one meeting a month.”

Hunt added that the town remains engaged in building relationships with community organizations to promote growth, safety, and youth activities, to include the R.L. Vann Resource Center, The Gathering Place, and Hertford County Early College.

“We are always looking to develop private sector partnerships to increase growth and seek a positive impact on our local economy,” Hunt stressed.

He reminded the audience about the NCDOT major projects pending in Ahoskie: the installation of a roundabout at the intersection of Memorial Drive and Academy Street, and constructing a new bridge over the railroad tracks on Memorial Drive. NCDOT plans to invest $16.4 million in those two projects, which will include sidewalks on the east side of the bridge.

Hunt mentioned changes to the town’s water bills, lowering the late fee from $65 to $20 if that fee is paid before the 25th of each month.

At the state level, Ahoskie Mayor Weyling White was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to the State Forestry Advisory Committee while Hunt gained a seat on the North Carolina League of Municipalities Legislative Policy Committee.

“We made some great strides in 2023. We are listening to the needs of our citizens. We work for you and look forward to a great year in 2024,” Hunt concluded.

Next: Ahoskie Police Chief Michele Garrett addresses public safety.

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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