The past, present, and future of Goldston: A conversation over lunch with the 3 guys from Pittsboro

By Gene Galin

This is Part 2 of Three Guys from Pittsboro having Lunch at Rufus’ Restaurant in Goldston

Goldston, NC – In a small town where everyone knows each other’s names, the three guys from Pittsboro sat down for a casual yet poignant lunch at Rufus’ Restaurant in Goldston. Greg Stafford, Eric Andrews and I had former Goldston mayor Tim Cunnup join our merry group. Our discussion meandered through topics from annexation and infrastructure to personal anecdotes, providing a candid glimpse into the concerns and hopes of a community at a crossroads.

Annexation and Growth: A Necessary Evolution

Can Goldston Survive Without Annexation?

Goldston, like many small towns, faces the challenge of balancing growth with maintaining its quaint charm. One of the key topics at the table was the necessity of annexation for the town’s survival. “Can Goldston survive as a Circle City without annexation?” was a question posed early in the conversation. The consensus was clear: growth is essential.

“I think we need a certain amount of growth,” said former Goldston mayor Tim Cunnup. “I’m not really for this rock quarry because we already have one on our doorstep. But without some form of growth, we’re just stagnating.” The conversation highlighted the importance of not only commercial but also residential development. “If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” echoed through the discussion, underscoring a sentiment shared by many small towns grappling with similar issues.

The Role of Residential Development

Residential development was another hot topic. Tim noted, “We do have the one on 1010 that is coming along, and I think some residential development wouldn’t be a bad thing either.” This development could help keep sprawl under control by concentrating growth within the municipalities rather than spreading it across the county.

Goldston’s ability to handle growth was credited in part to its improved infrastructure, particularly the sewer system. “Goldston has sewer thanks to Tim and some other people. I’d rather have the growth concentrated there than throughout the county.”

The Stop Sign Controversy: Slowing Down for Safety

Why a Stop Sign in the Middle of Town?

The installation of a stop sign in the middle of Goldston has been a point of contention among residents. “Why did you put a stop sign in the middle of town?” I asked, opening a debate about traffic control and safety.

“It was to slow traffic down,” came the straightforward response from Tim. The town had seen vehicles speeding through at dangerous speeds, sometimes up to 60-65 miles per hour. “We really wanted a stop light, but DOT couldn’t see their way for that, so they gave us a stop sign.”

Effectiveness and Enforcement

The effectiveness of the stop sign was also discussed. Despite initial resistance, it seems to have made a difference. However, enforcement remains a challenge. “How many tickets y’all write in a week on that stop?” was met with the admission, “We don’t write any.” I’m thinkng that this lack of enforcement could undermine the stop sign’s effectiveness, though a camera taking pictures of license plates has been installed to encourage compliance.

Achievements and Challenges: Reflections from a Former Mayor

Pride in Infrastructure Improvements

Tim, a former mayor, reflected on his time in office and his achievements. “When I moved here and built my house, I realized the environmental issues we had due to a lack of infrastructure. We had to have sewer.” The journey to implement a sewer system in a small town of nearly 400 residents was a massive challenge, involving numerous trips to Raleigh and 16 years of persistence.

“Getting sewer implemented was the biggest challenge and my proudest achievement,” he said. The sewer system transformed Goldston, making it more viable for future growth and improving living conditions significantly.

Affordable Housing and Future Developments

Affordable housing was another critical issue discussed. “Goldston’s cheaper than most places, and the sewer makes a difference.” The hope is that new developments will keep prices under control, ideally in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. “New construction costs are crazy, but we’re hopeful.”

The Future of Goldston: Connectivity and Community

Internet Connectivity: Bridging the Digital Divide

The conversation also touched on the crucial issue of internet connectivity, a necessity in today’s digital age. “For the most part, we’re still on DSL,” one of us noted. However, there is hope on the horizon. “Randolph Communications is bringing fiber optic to Goldston. By the end of this year, we should start seeing hookups.”

This development could significantly boost Goldston’s attractiveness to new residents and businesses, providing the infrastructure needed for remote work and modern digital needs.

Envisioning a Thriving Downtown

Looking ahead, Tim expressed his hopes for a thriving downtown. “I’d love to see some more businesses, retail spaces, maybe even a steakhouse.” The goal is to create a vibrant community hub that can attract visitors and serve the needs of local residents.

The Uniqueness of Goldston

Our conversation also revealed Tim Cunnup’s deep affection for the town and its unique character. “Goldston is just a great town. Small, peaceful, and everyone knows everybody. It’s so welcoming.” This sense of community and belonging is what makes small towns like Goldston special, despite the challenges they face.

Balancing Growth with Community Values

Our lunch at Rufus’ Restaurant in Goldston was more than just a meal; it was a microcosm of the town’s ongoing dialogue about its future. The need for growth and development, balanced with the desire to maintain the town’s character, was a recurring theme. From infrastructure improvements to the hope for new businesses and better internet connectivity, our discussions highlighted both the challenges and the potential that lie ahead for Goldston.

As the former mayor poignantly put it, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” But with thoughtful planning and community engagement, Goldston can hopefully navigate this growth while preserving the values that make it unique. The future of Goldston, as seen through the eyes of long-time resident Tim Cunnup, is one of cautious optimism and a deep-rooted commitment to his town.

Watch on YouTube – Part 2 – Three Guys from Pittsboro having Lunch at Rufus’ Restaurant in Goldston – 5.17.24

00:15 Discussion on the importance of annexation for growth

  • Opinions shared on the need for growth in Goldston
  • Mention of commercial and residential annexation as beneficial

02:21 Promoting concentrated growth in Goldston to prevent sprawl

  • Goldston has sewer infrastructure, thanks to Tim and others
  • Dispelling the notion that Goldston is failing or not doing well

04:24 Discussing weight loss and food preferences

  • Sharing progress on weight loss journey and food cravings
  • Debating the taste of different cheeseburgers and discussing the need for a stop sign in town

06:24 Discussion about speeding and traffic signs

  • Conversation about vehicles going 60-65 miles per hour and the need to slow down
  • Mention of the camera taking pictures of license plates to enforce traffic laws

08:21 Discussing the challenges and experiences of being the mayor

  • Talking about the frustrations with traffic and roundabouts
  • Expressing pride in making a positive impact on environmental issues and infrastructure

10:29 Implementing sewer system essential for town survival

  • Initial challenges in getting sewer system implemented in a town of almost 400 people
  • Importance of sewer system for the future and affordable housing

12:41 Challenges of new development in Pittsboro

  • High costs of construction and infrastructure
  • Slow progress in internet access and development

14:59 Discussing the future of Goldston

  • Desire for a thriving downtown with more businesses and shops
  • Identified a significant need for affordable housing