03/24/10 — DGDC plans to renovate donated downtown store

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DGDC plans to renovate donated downtown store

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 24, 2010 1:50 PM

In what Downtown Golds-boro Development Corp. executive director Julie Thompson is characterizing as "a bold step forward," the DGDC Board of Directors has voted to rehabilitate 219 N. John St. for the purpose of housing the organization.

The building, donated years ago by the Maxwell family, will cost roughly $250,000 to revamp -- a project Mrs. Thompson expects to take roughly a year.

The need for additional space for an expanding department was one factor in the decision to move forward with the current plan.

"As we have grown ... we just needed more space," Mrs. Thompson said.

But one of the biggest draws for those board members who OK'd the project was to become an active participant in what the DGDC has been preaching for years.

"We have been the ones saying people need to do this. But now, we are the ones doing it," Mrs. Thompson said. "So now, we're not just asking other people to take the risk. We're doing it ourselves."

But restoring a longtime vacant building in the heart of downtown and adding to the city's tax base was not the only potential positive outcome the group pondered.

For Mrs. Thompson, the experience of going through a process the DGDC has been pushing will give her staff much needed experience as far as rehabilitation projects go.

"It is very bold," she said. " Over the last few years, we have made some huge leaps and bounds. This is just another example of that."

Completion of the project is expected by next summer, at which time the DGDC staff and its board will move from their current home on Walnut Street.