ROCKY MOUNT — The Douglas Block is a shining example of redevelopment done right, according to a congressman who toured downtown Rocky Mount on Thursday.
U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-1st District, was continuing his regional Jobs First Small Business Tour.
The Douglas Block is a public-private redevelopment project with the goal of re-sparking a thriving commercial district in Rocky Mount.
Nancy Pitchford Turner, owner of Nancy’s Creation Hair Salon, said she felt special because Butterfield chose her business for his tour's first Rocky Mount stop.
“He complimented me on the atmosphere,” Turner said. “It was a really nice visit.”
Turner has been running her salon for eight years. She said she's seen the Douglas Block improve every day over the years. Some of the businesses that were open when she started are long gone, though.
“You have to stick with it,” Turner said. “They said it would get better and it has.”
For his next stop, Butterfield went around the corner to Wee Care Pediatrics, operated by Dr. Sharon Romney.
Romney told Butterfield that associated paperwork for Medicaid patients has greatly improved in recent years.
Butterfield said he anticipates North Carolina will expand Medicaid next year.
“We hope to turn that around,” Butterfield said. “We need to help make sure as many people as possible receive quality, affordable health care.”
While looking around the clinic, Butterfield told Romney he was impressed with what she has accomplished.
“Keep doing what you're doing,” Butterfield said.
Butterfield was instrumental in securing seed funding for the Douglas Bock. He said its made him proud to see the area evolve.
“It's a great example of good use of federal, state and local funding,” Butterfield said.
Nash County has received a lot of investment over the years so it was important for the Douglas Block to receive funding and the Downtown Event Center be located on the Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount, Butterfield said.
The Jobs First Small Business Tour is part of Butterfield’s Jobs & Justice Agenda.
“The more I know, the more effective I can be,” Butterfield said.