HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WNC) — A $25 million North Carolina Department of Transportation project is forcing some home and business owners in Hope Mills to move out of their community.
The NCDOT is using a right-of-way statute to gain private land to expand Rockfish Road and Golfview Road and install roundabouts. Several homes and businesses including an animal hospital will have to move, so those structures can then be demolished.
Donna Brechner and her husband Dennis used to live near the intersection of Golfview and Rockfish just four months ago. The couple had paid off the mortgage just five years ago, after moving into the home 35 years ago.
Dennis Brechner even operated his sign business out of home.
Three years ago, the NCDOT started the process to purchase the family’s home. Her family just moved out of the house in November and NCDOT crews wasted no time to demolish it.
Now the couple must start over.
“We are in our 70s, semi-retired and we’re having to make a mortgage payment again,” Donna Brechner said.
The NCDOT is compensating people for the properties. Half of some people’s front and back yards will be used to expand both roads.
“Houses were selling for a lot more than what we were offered by the DOT,” Brechner said.
With the growth of small communities like Hope Mills, these sort of projects are becoming more frequent across the state
“What we are seeing is they come to us for a variety of reasons. But we also have property available for commercial development,” said Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner.
Though Brechner agrees something needs to be done about the traffic, she feels losing her home in this manner is unfair. The widening project on both Rockfish and Golfview is expected to be completed in 2025.
“My granddaughter sent me a message on Facebook, and she said ‘gram it’s not the house, or the walls. It’s the people. It’s you and papa’,” Brechner said.