Huntersville waiting for apology

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 26, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

The Huntersville Civic League believes recent comments by Suffolk City Council members Charles F. Brown and Curtis Milteer are

a &uot;slap on the community’s face.&uot;

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At last week’s council meeting, both men were vocal in their opposition to Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett’s proposal to increase rehabilitation funding from $50,000 to $100,000 for the blighted northern Suffolk neighborhood.

Huntersville is the first in a string of dilapidated communities across the city that will begin receiving funding for capital improvements over the next decade. Under the council’s existing plan, neighborhoods and villages with adopted plans will receive $50,000 and $100,000 respectively for 10 years.

The two council members were adamant in their opposition, saying it would be unfair to residents in the city’s other dilapidated neighborhoods.

Milteer said he would &uot;jump off a building&uot; before supporting the recommendation.

Brown called the land in Huntersville – which sits in the heart of Harbour View, surrounded by Interstate 664 – a &uot;gold mine.&uot; He indicated that if he owned land in the neighborhood, he would sell it and relocate.

Their comments raised the ire of residents, who say the city has long overlooked their tiny rundown community.

&uot;I believe without a shadow of a doubt we are owed an apology,&uot; said James White, a lifelong Huntersville resident. &uot;I think their remarks were inappropriate …and it baffles me as to why they would make them.&uot;

Lue Ward, who has strong family and church ties in Huntersville, agreed.

&uot;It was completely inappropriate for seasoned council members to tell people to pack up and move,&uot; he said &uot;Mr. Milteer said he would rather commit suicide than help this historic community.&uot;

If Huntersville’s property is so valuable, the city should be more willing to help fix it up, said Evelyn Jackson, a 53-year resident.

&uot;Instead, VDOT (the Virginia Department of Transportation) and the city has ignored us for years,&uot; she said.

Brown’s suggestion that homeowners might want to look at selling didn’t sit well among residents.

&uot;This is our home place,&uot; said Nathaniel Elliott. &uot;We value our home sites,…our homes are more valuable than money.&uot;

Some residents are doubtful whether they will get their apology.

Milteer said he would be willing to apologize &uot;if it would keep the peace.&uot;

Efforts to reach Brown late Thursday were unsuccessful.