HAMLET — Citing crime and perceived lapses in leadership, residents say they’re concerned about their hometown’s present path — and its future.
With plenty of people still in shock over the resignations of City Manager Marchell Adams-David and museum manager and downtown coordinator Miranda Chavis, Main Street seemed conspicuously still and deserted Wednesday around lunchtime. A hot, arid wind blew leaves and debris across the pavement and the few cars present were either parked in front of city hall or Café on Main.
Amy Guinn, owner of the usually bustling café, appeared confident business would pick up as half-past noon approached. Still, she shared just a little uncertainty about the downtown business district’s future in the absence of David and Chavis.
“I think it will be detrimental to the city,” Guinn said. “It will make a big impact in ways we probably can’t even realize yet and finding people to replace each of them at their level (of knowledge and skills) is going to be tough. And me being a business on Main Street — I’m concerned.”
Robert McCauley, who has lived in Hamlet since he was little, was leaving the Dollar General store on King Street when he stopped to say a few words about his unease. While he wasn’t aware of the resignations and said he isn’t interested in politics, he had plenty of worries and hopes for the city’s future.
“It would be good to keep all the drug dealers out of here,” McCauley said. “And to stop all the killing and breaking into people’s houses and stealing things all the time.”
Thaddaus Mumford, who is a cousin of the departing city manager, said he is too old at 65 to have to worry about the kinds of things that come with living where he does.
“Marchell is my cousin,” he said. “I believe she’s been with Hamlet for 21 years, and all this mess come up about her firing that police chief (John Haywood). People voted others onto the council to put pressure on her. I’m glad she’s getting away from here. She’s good people. It just ain’t worth it being aggravated your whole life.”
Adams-David accepted a position as one of three assistant city managers in Raleigh. She and Chavis share the same resignation date — Aug. 22.
Ronnie Clewis, who said he’s probably not related to Councilman Tony Clewis, was setting up his produce stand on the corner of King Street and Spring Street near the Dollar General when he shared his thoughts on where Hamlet should go from here.
“I hadn’t heard about her (Chavis), but I heard about the city manager,” he said. “They may find something better. They need to. Someone needs to clear out these abandoned houses around here. It would cut out a lot of the drugs. People shack up in those houses to have somewhere to go.”
Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-817-2673.