ROCKY MOUNT — The growing pains associated with a booming population usually include a negative connotation, such as fears of increased traffic and longer lines in stores, but one North Carolina town is cashing in on its growth.
Clinton Clanton expects this winter to be a lot more comfortable than last year's. The City of Rocky Mount and a non-profit economics group have just finished weather-proofing his home. The insulated windows and vinyl siding are a far cry from the drafty house he used to know.
Federal block grants are paying for part of the improvements here and at dozens of other homes across the city. Because of the area's growth, more money is coming in.
Work crews have repaired twice as many houses this year as they did in 1996. Community Development Planner Helen Valdez says the money helped a great deal.
The Nash-Edgecombe-Wilson Economic Group (NEED) is providing other federal money to weatherize homes in low-income areas. The improvements are free. NEED Coordinator Junus Barnes says the group gets more requests for help at this time of year.
Rocky Mount's population recently passed 50,000, opening up sources of federal income that had been off limits.