afternoon trip raises questions | Mont Olive grandstand
After a mission not too long ago, I hopped in my car and drove back down Rones Chapel Road towards Mount Olive.
The town’s speed limit sign appeared, followed by a faded brown marker that read “Enter Historic Mount Olive.”
I knew I was on East James Street and was heading downtown.
I looked to my left. No historical benchmarks.
I looked to my right. No historical benchmarks.
How can a historically rich town nestled in the southern part of Wayne County not have signs on some of its buildings that are nearly a century old?
Surely a history freak like me – for example – would like to know.
Is not it ?
Mayor Ken Talton has appointed advisory committees to deal with issues affecting residents of the city. I am not criticizing the efforts of committees because there have been visible changes.
We can do better, however.
Aside from the issue of historical landmarks, the road signs are barely visible. Some have been knocked down or broken in certain areas of the city. Once you venture to the south side, many of the signs have disappeared.
The lighting in these areas is horrible.
A city that prospered before, during and after the Depression Era has certainly lost its dynamism.
Do not mistake yourself.
There are a few good businesses downtown, but not enough.
We need more.
Proceeds from the upcoming Pickles, Pigs & Swigs festival will be used to hire a city planner, who will develop a plan to rejuvenate this unique town built on its agricultural heritage.
Modernization, I hope, will be a priority.
Add more lighting to downtown.
Make street names more visible, comparable to what you see in big cities. Spread poles on the streets and put up traffic lights, which would eliminate those God-abandoned four-way stops that are dangerous.
Rumor has it that roundabouts are possible in the city center. It’s an interesting concept and a construction nightmare given that there is a railroad track running through the middle of Center Street.
Demolish buildings that are eye sores.
Bring back the farmers market.
There are old residences on two streets which, with a little tenderness, could become bed and breakfasts for visitors who would like to spend the night, especially parents of Mount Olive University athletes. There are grants to renovate homes in historic neighborhoods.
After all, the signs claim that Mount Olive is a historic town.
If you need further confirmation contact my good friend and retired teacher Ken Dilda.
The man is a traveling encyclopedia of the origin and history of the city.
I know these changes cannot happen overnight.
But I challenge the influential people in this city, and you know who you are, to take action and accept their responsibilities. Hold yourself accountable for your position and let your actions speak louder than your words.
The town of Mount Olive deserves it.
Rudy Coggins is associate editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be contacted at email@example.com.