Downtown revitalization group disbanded in late November

A new committee is set to fill the void left by BOLD of Jacksonville.

“BOLD is to be commended for things they accomplished over years, but over time every organization has to re-evaluate its mission,” City Manager Richard Woodruff said. “Their mission had been accomplished and they needed to sunset their activities and city appreciates what they did in the past and disbanding.”

According to the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Bettering Our Local Downtown (BOLD), filed creation documents on Aug. 22, 1990 and destruction documents on Nov. 28, 2016.

A void was left in the nonprofit’s place until the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce established a downtown advisory committee.

“The Chamber Board of Directors have stood up a downtown advisory committee and that will go by the acronym ‘DAC,’” Laurette Leagon, chamber president, said. “We’ve had two meetings with property owners and business owners. We have determined our focus is going to be revitalization and recruitment.”

The recruitment process, she added, would be identifying potential businesses to relocate or start their business in available buildings in the downtown district.Although

Although Leagon said there isn’t a date set for another meeting, the committee is going to be planning one soon.

BOLD’s disbanding also left their offices empty and bills unpaid.BOLD’s offices, located at 421 Court St. in Jacksonville, will be used by the Onslow County Court System through an interlocal agreement, Woodruff said. The city established an agreement so the court system could use the building for free for three to six months as a small courtroom space while the new courthouse is being constructed, he added.

BOLD’s offices, located at 421 Court St. in Jacksonville, will be used by the Onslow County Court System through an interlocal agreement, Woodruff said. The city established an agreement so the court system could use the building for free for three to six months as a small courtroom space while the new courthouse is being constructed, he added.

During the courthouse groundbreaking ceremony in November, former County Manager Jeff Hudson said he didn’t expect the construction to be completed before 2018. The completed courthouse will contain four floors and nine courtrooms, according to information previously provided to The Daily News.

“After that, (the city) will determine what is an appropriate use,” the city manager said.

Because BOLD was disbanding and had outstanding bills the organization couldn’t pay, Woodruff said the city had agreed to buy their assets, which included about 50 barricades, the train caboose at the downtown depot and other assets. Woodruff said the city, which had been a part of getting the organization started, agreed to buy the assets so the organization could pay off its bills, which amounted to about $18,000.

“The city could buy their assets, not pay their bills,” he said. “The value of that was used to pay the bills through the dissolution process. It is not the city that paid the bills that BOLD owed.”

Sandra Wyrick, a former executive director of BOLD, said she loved what the organization did and thought they did a great job downtown. She cited the annual Riverwalk Palooza festival and live music on Fridays over the summer.

“I miss that so much,” she said of working with people from out of town and showing the community the beauty of downtown. “In my retirement, I think that’s what I miss the most.”

BOLD unexpectedly canceled the 2016 Riverwalk Palooza in September. At the time, BOLD President Alva Williams was unable to comment on the reasons for having to cancel the event but said the BOLD Board of Directors had hoped to return with the event this year, according to a Sept. 14 Daily News article.

Williams was unable to be reached for comment by deadline.