Local News

Proposed Entertainment District Meets Opposition With Local Residents

Posted April 13, 2005

— A proposed entertainment complex comes with mixed opinions from local residents in one northeastern North Carolina city.

Paperwork was officially filed Monday to open an entertainment district that would bring live entertainment, amusement parks, hotels, restaurants, shopping and 2,500 new jobs to Roanoke Rapids.

"Visitors spent over $1 billion in Branson, Mo., last year and they spent $57 million in Halifax County last year, " said Lori Medlin, spokeswoman for Halifax County Tourism. "So you see the difference would mean for our economy and the whole state."

But many homeowners say they moved to the area for the rural life. The proposed district would put many of the homeowners in the path of progress.

Lottie Robertson moved to Roanoke Rapids from Buffalo, NY, to retire to some peace and quiet.

"I think it will be good for Roanoke Rapids, but not for my neighborhood," Roberston said. "They said the city can't take our land, but it would be to our own peace of mind and benefit to move."

Robertson and about 50 of her neighbors in Brandy Creek say they will not move without a fight.

Not every homeowner is unhappy with the idea of living in the shadows of an entertainment district.

Dot Nelson and her husband moved to the area 40 years ago.

"It doesn't really concern me too much except maybe the traffic and maybe the unknown," Nelson said.

Roanoke Rapids Mayor Drewery Beale met with concerned residents Monday. He said residents do not have to worry about moving out right away and that they still have at least five years before construction would begin on phase two of the project.

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