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East Spencer mayoral candidate says more needs to be done for residents

 

EAST SPENCER — Mayoral candidate Teon Robinson somewhat disagrees with current Mayor Barbara Mallett’s statements about positive changes taking place throughout East Spencer.

Mallett, who is seeking her fourth term, recently listed a few economic development projects that have been ongoing for a number of years. Mallett said the town is stronger than it has been.

But Robinson, who is hoping to unseat Mallett, said there is not enough being done for residents of East Spencer. Robinson said he has talked with a few residents in the last few days and many of them have not seen the positive changes Mallett has cited.

“There were a few houses that were torn down on the Long Street corridor and sidewalks were added. Those things are very important, but what about the rest?” Robinson said.

He said there is a house a block from the East Spencer post office that burned about nine years ago but is still there.

“I know because I was the first one in the door,” Robinson said.

The East Spencer firefighter said he is all for beautifying the park but says the “effort was started three years ago and still nothing.”

“The people are wondering what’s going on. You say there is money there, but no evidence of work being done. Maybe there were some hang-ups, but at least be transparent and say that instead of nothing,” he said.

This is Robinson’s first time seeking an elected position. Robinson, 27, is the owner of the Robinson Group, a consulting firm specializing in program management for construction.

His campaign platform focuses on public safety, economic development, education, workforce training and entrepreneurship, as well as community engagement and sustainability.

Robinson said it is important to build sustainable police-community relationships and expand community engagement. He wants to develop a citywide budget process in which residents help define spending priorities.

Robinson wants to create local youth job opportunities to help decrease youth unemployment and crime. He also has ideas to turn vacant lots into community gardens, parks or common spaces for entrepreneurial opportunities.

Robinson questioned the town’s goal to start a housing development corporation.

“How can we move on to starting a housing development corporation when we can’t provide sustainability and/or produce jobs for our current residents?” he asked.

Mallett has said the town has started the process to develop a housing corporation designed to start the process of homeownership for first-time buyers.

Robinson said the former Rowan-Salisbury Schools administration building would be a perfect place for a community resource center or recreation facility rather than the planned senior citizens housing facility.

“We have all of those around us. We need something that will bring a positive change to the people that we serve,” he said.

Robinson and his wife, Raevyn, have three children — Caiden, 7, Cidney, 1, and baby Chase due in October. Robinson attended North Rowan High School and is a member of the East Spencer Fire Department. He and his family attend church at the Refuge in Kannapolis.

East Spencer resident James Cowan is also running for mayor. Incumbents Tammy Corpening, Otis Gibson and Phronice Johnson and newcomers Tony Hillian, Douglas Holmes and Jamilla Kennedy are running for the town board.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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