Housing in Mount Olive, or the lack of affordable ones, has always been a big issue here in The Pickle Capital, but at least one town official sees a trend he hopes will continue.
Town Manager Charles Brown told the Tribune he has seen an increase in renovations of old, previously-unlivable houses during the past two years.
Several years ago, officials surveyed the town and listed 85 structures or homes that were vacant, many of them unlivable.
Recently, Brown said he has seen at least 10 of those old homes renovated, put back on the tax books, and made profitable rental properties.
In several of those cases, a couple from Maine has purchased such properties, renovated, and put them back into occupancy.
Before then, the houses were eyesores in the neighborhood.
“We are seeing an increase in this where people are willing to go out there and work on those old houses and turn it all into a profit,” Brown said.
Many of the old homes might appear lost from the outside, but people are finding new promise in the structure’s sound interiors.
“Many of them have already been renovated and turned into profitable rental properties,” Brown said.
The town manager began to take notice of this trend “about two years ago,” he said. “This is progress, and I am elated to see there are people right here in town taking an interest in it.”
Growth through renovations is underway - even with the town’s issues with a limited wastewater treatement plant.
“We have an industry right now in the process of renovating the old Boling Plant facility that will provide some 180-200 jobs. It is probably about a year and one half away, but it is something in progress,” Brown said.
The new firm bringing jobs is Stadium Seating, headquartered in South America, he said.