Progress slow, but coming to downtown Lumberton

To the Editor,

This is in response to Seth Lewis’s letter of March 2, 2018, to The Robesonian entitled “Time to fix water plant and wall, two downtown eyesores.”

The Board of Directors of Rediscover Downtown Lumberton appreciates Mr. Lewis’s recognition of the positive things that have taken place in our downtown area. The new Performance Shelter, the new signage, the new traffic circle, and the recent purchase of the old fire house are all things we can be proud. Also, as I write this,renovations have begun at the Plaza and the new walkway behind the Civic Center. Both projects should be completed within the next few months.

All of these accomplishments have taken place during the last three years. Considering funding, months of planning, and the actual implementation process, the city has done extremely well in putting forth the Five-Year Plan for our downtown. Rediscover Downtown Lumberton has been very happy to work with the mayor, City Council, town manager, city developer, and others to make these changes become a reality. Though progress may seem slow at times, we have to remember that “Rome was not built in a day.”

Also, Hurricane Matthew caused a serious delay in development. Our citizens had urgent needs which had to be addressed. All in all, we have taken wonderful steps forward.

As for the water plant, we are very much aware of the need for renovation and occupancy. Some years ago, a group of citizens made an effort to rectify the problem. Unfortunately, their efforts were not successful. To put it bluntly, we need some investors with deep pockets. Some of us have a dream for this structure. We would like to see a craft brewery on the first floor with restaurants and small shops on the second floor. North Carolina has approximately 300 craft breweries but none within the five counties surrounding Robeson. A craft brewery would become the anchor that our downtown so badly needs for economic development. Being right on the river is a plus. We believe that this could be a win/win situation for both investors and our city. Also, it could become a drawing card for tourists, conferences, and the added enjoyment by our citizens.

There is one thing that Mr. Lewis and Rediscover Downtown Lumberton agree upon: We all love Lumberton.

Richard H. Monroe

President

Rediscover Downtown Lumberton