Seeing is believing for Burr aide

Clean Up Henderson Committee Chairwoman Lynn Harper shows how the abandoned houses, indicated by red dots, crowd around schools and the primary tourist route to Kerr Lake.
Clean Up Henderson Committee Chairwoman Lynn Harper shows how the abandoned houses, indicated by red dots, crowd around schools and the tourist route to Kerr Lake.

Sen. Richard Burr has received some 390 appropriations requests, and from an office in Washington, one looks pretty much like another: Some town somewhere in North Carolina has a problem and wants the federal government to throw some money at it.

Senatorial aide Drew Elliot said that’s pretty much how he saw Henderson’s request for money to attack its abandoned structures — until Thursday afternoon, when he took Lynn Harper’s cleanup tour of the city.

“A lot of people are just coming and saying, ‘This is what we want to do. Where’s some money for it?’ ” Elliot said in Mayor Clem Seifert’s Edward Jones office on Dabney Drive after a two-hour visit to Henderson. “To tell you the truth, when y’all came up to Washington, I didn’t see too much of a difference. But coming down here and seeing what’s going on with the Clean Up Henderson Committee and all that, it’s obvious that y’all have already taken the first few steps.”

Elliot’s visit was a direct result of the lobbying trip Seifert led to Washington three weeks earlier. The mayor and Harper were among half a dozen Hendersonians who spent half an hour with Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican in his first year as a senator.

During that meeting, Burr told Elliot, “You have to go to Henderson.”

Thursday, Elliot made Henderson the first city visited by Burr’s Washington staff since his swearing-in in January. Unlike the visit by Congressman G.K. Butterfield last month, when official Henderson turned out in force to welcome the Wilson Democrat and an entourage of four, Elliot’s stop in town was a working trip involving a small group.

From left, Bernard Alston, Clem Seifert, Drew Elliot, Lynn Harper, Gwen Wright and Corey Williams gather at the Evans barbecue restaurant.
From left, Bernard Alston, Clem Seifert, Drew Elliot, Lynn Harper, Gwen Wright and Corey Williams gather at the Evans barbecue restaurant. Besides a meal and a tour, Elliot got the gift pack of Henderson goods on the table.

The senator’s aide had lunch at Evans’ Famous Bar-B-Que & Chicken on Raleigh Road with Seifert, Harper, Code Compliance Director Corey Williams, planner/CDBG expert Gwen Wright and mayoral assistant Sandra Wilkerson. By chance, Mayor Pro Tem Bernard Alston and District Judge Henry Banks came in for lunch and met Elliot.

Elliot’s responsibilities in Burr’s office include appropriations, special projects and grants.

“I might not be able to help you on eight different projects, but when I know you have eight different problems,” and some extra money turns up in an agency or grant program, he can point Henderson in the right direction.

Among Henderson’s legislative priorities in Washington is a request for a $450,000 appropriation from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for removing, renovating and preventing abandoned structures.

Seifert and Harper ran through a brief history of two years of Clean Up Henderson Committee work, with the aid of a city map showing the older, eastern half of Henderson afflicted with a rash of abandoned houses. Williams explained the problems of narrow streets and tiny lots in areas such as Orange Street and Flint Hill.

“We have drug some people along,” Seifert said. “There’s a lot of good stuff we want to do.”

For a change, a visitor got to take the cleanup tour on a sunny day instead of the gray, dreary weather that usually greets dignitaries, including Butterfield, and gives a grim cast to the run-down parts of the city. Having people on the porches and in the streets canceled the ghost-town feel of some drives through the old mill villages but added to the sense of overcrowding and of too many people in Henderson with too little to do.

The good weather also allowed Elliot to see work being done. Men were rehabilitating at least half a dozen houses, some of them facing deadlines from Williams to be repaired or demolished. And Elliot noted the overhaul of the Highland Green rental complex on Pinkston Street, where the Raleigh-based owner took pre-emptive action against decay.

The tour made the now-standard stop at the old South Henderson School to talk about how close the city is to turning a site that is a neighborhood blight on Old Epsom Road into a neighborhood asset — a cleared, graded, fenced, 2-acre corner lot ready for a park or a community center. The city needs $25,000 to remove the school and any asbestos-tainted debris and purchase the land.

Elliot agreed with what Butterfield told Seifert: It’s hard to earmark an amount as small as $25,000 out of the $2 trillion the federal government spends each year.

Wright described the proposed Community Development Block Grant project on David Street, where Elliot saw a few well-kept houses surrounded by boarded-up homes, fire debris, trash and overgrown lots. The tour passed two abandoned houses nearby that Williams said someone just bought for a combined $2,650, which Harper said pointed out the crying need for the city to engage in land banking.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, don’t we, guys?” Harper said.

The drive ranged from the estates of the country club area to the fallen majesty of Turner Avenue, one of the few blocks in town where Harper still doesn’t feel comfortable after countless tours.

“There are very nice parts, and parts that need a lot of work,” Elliot said afterward. Citing the cleanup committee, he added: “That’s what it takes, is people who have an interest in the community coming together on it and making people realize that everyone in the community has an interest in it.”

The senator’s aide couldn’t promise any extra money for Henderson. “All I can promise is that I’ll work with you. I’ll be there,” Elliot said. “I’ll listen to your ideas, and I’ll give you some of my own.”

That’s what Henderson wants, Seifert said. “We would rather have ongoing assistance directing us in the right direction than $100,000.”and sexyfur a for password usernameacrobatic sexamateur video porn freeporn pics amateurporn pictures adultfree personals sex 100games sexy adultsex travel information adult Map