By Charlotte Smith
Bladenboro Town Commissioner Sarah Jane Benson introduced the new Town Administrator, Blake Proctor, during his first official week on the job in December 2018.
A little over a year later, Proctor announced his retirement at the February town council meeting.
When Proctor was introduced Mayor Rufus Duckworth said, “I’m hoping with all of his experience he will bring new ideas and new things to Bladenboro.”
Proctor lived up to the Mayor’s hopes assisting with grant writing, downtown revitalization efforts, and improving the parks and recreation areas in the town.
Duckworth said he hates to see Proctor leave and he is grateful for all the work Proctor has provided for the town.
During his time as Town Administrator Proctor applied for grants and received funding. The town was awarded a $500,000 cash grant from the Office of North Carolina State Recovery and Resilience due to damages from Hurricane Matthew to help defray cost incurred, according to Proctor.
Another grant the town was awarded $200,000 from NC House Representative William Brisson, for demolition of dilapidated buildings which include the old eye doctor’s building on Main Street, the old Jabco building on West Seaboard Street, and the old Fowlers Simmons building.
Proctor does have a list of items he wants to complete before leaving his post in the small town.
“I’m working hard to complete all the projects I’ve been working on including the softball field at McLean Park and the demolition of the old eye doctor’s building, next to the
Medicine Shoppe,” Proctor stated.
He explained, Mr. Steve Simmons deeded the building located on North Main Street in downtown Bladenboro to the town for demolition on February 10th and the town is in the
process of scheduling the demolition.
The overall goal for the town is to take down three building owned by 4 people, according to Proctor.
He hopes the example Dr. Simmons set will be followed by the other property owners of the old buildings.
“We gave him a letter for a tax write off based on the assessed value of the property,” Proctor said, “After the demolition the space will be used for extra parking.”
This is the fifth time Proctor has retired from a career and he said he hopes it’s his last too.
Before his time in Bladenboro, Proctor served as Town Administrator for the town of Sharpsburg, where he retired on October 19, 2018. He has also held posts in North
Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky, according to reports.
Proctor did say he would remain in Bladen County. He is retiring due to health reasons, but has offered to help the town in the future if there is a need.
Duckworth stated, “I am glad Proctor is going to stay local and that he is willing to help if we need anything on the projects that he was working on.”
Proctor’s last day will be Friday, February 28, 2020.