Special Woodland Town Board Meeting
for Community Development
October 3, 2019
Kenneth Manuel - Mayor
David Cooper – Mayor Pro Tempore
Brian Christison - Commissioner
Barbara Outland – Commissioner
Pat Liverman – Commissioner
Donielle McDermott – Town Clerk
Marshall Lassiter – ORC
Perry Lee Collier – Public Works
Jessica Griffey – Public Works
Tommy Pierce – Public Works
Eddie Hoggard – Police Officer
Robbie Collier – Woodland Volunteer Fire Department, Assistant Chief
Chris Collier – WVFD, Chief / Northampton County Sheriff's Office, Captain
Special Guests Present:
Reginald Speight – District Director for Congressman G.K. Butterfield
Charles Tyner – Northampton County Board of Commissioners, Chairperson
Joyce Buffalo – Northampton County Board of Commissioners
Charles Jackson – Northampton County Manager
Kim Schwartz – Chief Executive Director, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center
Caroline Doherty – Community Development Manager, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center
Dean Jordan – Chief Finacial Officer, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center
Judy Collier – Executive Director of Northampton County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Center
Dick Collier – Mayor of Lasker
Geraldine Langford – Mayor of Seaboard
Ron Lane – Former Town Commissioner and Designer of Woodland Memorial Walkway
Susan Tann – Manager of Special Projects for Roanoke Electric Cooperative
Pattie Manuel – Woodland Community Outreach, Inc., Chairperson of Special Events Committees
Holly Taylor – Roanoke Chowan New Herald
Phillip Sayblack – Roanoke Rapids Daily News Herald
Also in Attendance Were Members of the Woodland Community
The Community Development Meeting began at 10:15 am, with Mayor Ken Manuel welcoming everyone and thanking them for taking time out of their busy schedules to join us for this gathering. Mayor Manuel provided a brief description of the Town of Woodland and explained that this meeting grew in response to efforts of the Town Board to seek grant funding to help the Woodland Volunteer Fire Department build a new fire house. Mayor Manuel reached out to Mr. Speight, the Regional Director for Congressman Butterfield, in hopes that there may some federally sponsored programs that may be able to assist us.
During a Joint Meeting between the Northampton County Commissioners and the Woodland Town Board of Commissioners, it was suggested that the County Commissioners be invited to any meeting with Mr. Speight. Mayor Manuel said he thought it would be a good idea to invite other agencies to Woodland, to show them some of the projects the town is currently working on, including the new drinking water supply well, the national guard armory, the playground equipment that was donated by the Northampton County Board of Commissioners and the soon to open medical facility, which will be operated by the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center. The health care facility will be named in honor of the town's former, long-time mayor and community doctor, John H. Stanley.
Mayor Manuel then introduced the members of the Town Board of Commissioners and staff of Woodland. Each commissioner was given an opportunity to welcome our visitors and thank them for attending.
Reginald Speight was asked the come forward and address the crowd. He said he and Congressman Butterfield are very supportive of infrastructure improvements and said that should also cover first responders like the Woodland Volunteer Fire Department. He said he also understood that a small town with a small population would have great difficulty paying back a large loan, because of the limited financial resources. He said, “The people who can benefit the most from loans, such as from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are the some ones who would have a difficult time paying those loans back. All we have done is create a system that doesn't benefit those who need it most.”
Robbie Collier came forward and explained that the Woodland Volunteer Fire Department was chartered in 1951 and the fire house building was built that same year. He said the building is old and the cement floor was not made to withhold the weight of these newer, heavier engines that are used today. He said as a result, the floor has crumbled. Periodically, the firemen have had to load gravel into the holes, created by the sinking floor; however, over time, the weight of the trucks continue to pack down the gravel. The WVFD has numerous fundraising events each year. The annual Deer Hunt is scheduled in November. They also sell dinners. Robbie said “Every dollar donated gets us a step closer to getting a new fire house.”
Charles Jackson introduced himself to the crowd and thanked Mayor Manuel and the Town Board for the invitation. He has been looking forward to being able to come back to Woodland and take a closer look at the town. He was recently appointed to his position as County Manager and is looking forward to working with the local town boards and citizens to help make a positive difference throughout Northampton County.
Charles Tyner was next to speak. Mr. Tyner thanked the Town Board of Commissioners for their work. He welcomed Mr. Speight to Northampton County and said that if we all work together, we can help to fix and repair the problems that we are experiencing with our infrastructure throughout Northampton County. He said the County Commissioners are here to offer any assistance that they can. It should be noted that this is the third time in three months that members of the Northampton County Board of Commissioners have come to Woodland!!
Dr. Pamela D. Chamblee the recently appointed Superintendent of the Northampton County Public School System was next to speak. Dr. Chamblee said that a significant percentage of students who reside in Northampton County, attend private schools. As a result, a large portion of the school district's funds must go to support the education of those children who are not attending the public school district. This has a significant impact on the school district budgeted resources. She also stated that a poor educational system will always impede economic growth and community development, because businesses are seeking communities that have a strong and educated labor force. If the schools are bad, the businesses will not come.
Kim Schwartz the Chief Executive Officer of Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center was next to speak. She stated that they are very happy to be able to bring affordable health care to the Woodland Community. Mrs. Schwartz said that her agency was disappointed that they were not able to obtain the additional grant funding to create a pharmacy in the building, but they are still very proud of how the project is progressing. The location of the new facility is the site of the former Southern Bank Building. They plan on having a “Soft Opening” on November 17, 2019 and will have a Grand Opening in early 2020. The building will be named in honor of Dr. John H. Stanley, who served the Northampton Community for 62 years. Mrs. Schwartz said she is happy that Dr. Stanley was aware of the intentions to open this facility and was in favor of it coming to Woodland.
Judy Collier the Executive Director of the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce came forward. She thanked the Town Board of Commissioners for the continued financial support as a member of the Chamber of Commerce and also the annual donations for the July 4th Celebrations. She said the Chamber is always ready and willing to assist and help support new businesses that may come to Northampton County.
Susan Tann is the Manager for Special Projects for Roanoke Electric Cooperative. She said her title is very broad, with regards the various projects that REC is committed to trying create and complete. She shared with the audience a meeting held earlier this week with members of the County Commissioners and Mayors Dick Collier (Lasker) and Mayor Manuel. REC is currently going through the process of installing an antenna on the top of the water tower in Lasker, in order to boost the radio frequency signal for internet users. Once the antenna is installed, not only will Northeast Academy benefit, but all users withing a five-mile radius of the water tower should received improvement with their internet service. The plan is for REC to eventually come to Woodland and install a similar antenna on the top of the town's water tower.
Ron Lane was introduced as a former Town Commissioner for Woodland and also the Designer of the Woodland Memorial Walkway. Ron said he came up with the idea as a way for the younger generation to know and appreciate the contributions of former community members who donated their time for the sake of community service, or dedicated their lives by serving their country in the U.S. Armed Services. He hopes the memorial walkway will inspire all residents to be invested in Woodland and will create a legacy of community service that serves as a motivation to all who may come and visit the walkway. He explained that the periphery of the walkway is for those who served the community in a variety of ways; however, the section in front of the flagpole is reserved for those who served in the Armed Services. A single, 4”x8” brick, with engraving, costs $50. A double brick, 8”x8”, with engraving costs $100.
Donielle McDermott was introduced by Mayor Manuel. She is not only the Town Clerk, but she is also the Chairperson for Woodland Community Outreach, Incorporated. Although Pattie Manuel was scheduled to speak, it was decided that as the Chairperson of the organization, Donielle should address the crowd. Donielle provided a history of how WCO came into existence. In September 2016, WCO was recognized by the State of North Carolina, as a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization.
Donielle advised the audience of the many events and activities the organization has sponsored over the last four years, including 3 Easter Parades, 3 Easter Egg Hunts, 4 National Day of Prayer Gatherings, 2 Veteran's Day Programs, 2 Woodland Community Heritage Day Celebrations, 1 Youth and Family Day, 1 1st Night Out Against Crime event, 1 May Day Celebration, 4 Christmas Celebrations (of one sort or another), 12 Summer Youth Fun Days, 4 Employee Appreciation Days and 3 craft fairs.
WCO also sponsored a Walking Club and a Couch to 5-K program. Additionally, the organization also co-sponsored one of the 3 Woodland Stock Music Festivals in April 2018.
Tour of Woodland Mayor Manuel advised those in attendance that we will go outside to view the Woodland Memorial Walkway, then everyone will be asked to get into their cars. We will take a tour around town to visit the various location sites, which will include the location for the new supply well (which is due to be completed in December 2019); the WVFD Fire Station, which is in poor condition; the National Guard Armory, which is contaminated with lead; the Woodland Community Playground and the playground equipment which was donated by the Northampton County Board of Commissioners; and the nearly complete John H. Stanley Medical Care Facility, which is scheduled to open in mid-November 2019.
Following the tour, everyone was invited back to Woodland Town Hall for refreshments and an informal Question & Answer Session.
Adjournment: The meeting ended at 1:00pm.
Respectfully submitted by,
Kenneth W. Manuel, Mayor
Town of Woodland