Troutman Council Candidate Profile: Curt Rogers
BY DEBBIE PAGE
After a four-year hiatus, Curt Rogers is ready to get back to work for the Town of Troutman now that he and his wife have an empty nest and their travel soccer days are behind them.
The former council member is seeking to return to the Town Council in this fall's elections.
The retired Marine lieutenant colonel and F-18 pilot, who currently heads the Marine Corps JROTC program at South Iredell High School, moved to Troutman in 2006 with his wife, Troutman native Katheryn Horn Rogers.
Rogers’ mother-in-law, Pat Horn, taught English for 31 years at SIHS and had five daughters who all became educators, so Rogers formed a deep attachment to Troutman through his wife’s family, leading them to settle here to raise his family and teach after years of globetrotting in his military career.
“I’m running because I have a desire to be involved and be a part of the process," Rogers said. "I don’t have specific agenda items. I enjoyed my experience previously and just want to contribute to the community."
Rogers favors offering economic incentives to businesses and industries considering locating in Troutman “if it makes sense in each unique situation.”
He praised Town Planner Erika Martin, who works effectively with new businesses to explain what the town has to offer and guides them to understand the codes and ordinances that affect them. The town staff is one of the great assets of Troutman, according to Rogers.
As a council member, he pledges to “sell the strengths of Troutman” to draw more companies to the town.
The key to positive growth is good management, according to Rogers, who believes that the council must be diligent to balance growth with community accessibility, connectivity, and emergency services. He also stresses the importance of adhering to the town’s codes and regulations as new buildings and commercial structures are built.
“I am pro-business and pro-development, but I want development to adhere to the UDO (Unified Development Ordinance),” said Rogers, noting that the Town Council is integral to ensuring compliance.
“We need to balance the needs of citizens with the needs of developers,” added Rogers, “in a deliberate, open process” in which all sides get to express their opinions and concerns.
Town Hall expansion is not a new topic, according to Rogers, who remembers discussions of this need during his previous term on the council. The town’s staff needs the space to work and do their jobs well, which will necessitate either expansion or possibly moving the police department to another location.
Exit 42, he said, is another high-growth area in which the Town Council needs to be involved. “We need to be very deliberate in the growth that happens there and not just jump into things,” Rogers explained.
Rogers also believes the town must also continue to focus on offering new amenities for citizens to come together and enjoy, citing the continuing development of ESC Park, which he helped establish during his previous council stint.
Rogers is excited by the addition of the pavilion, playground, and dog park over the past four years and looks forward, if elected, to shepherding ESC Park through its second development phase. “This park has been a real hit in the community,” he added.
“Amenities for citizens are important to continue to have that hometown feel and to further growth,” Rogers said, noting the recent and future southern expansions of the greenway as excellent progress in that area.
He wants to help town staff to work through the challenges of obtaining additional grants and finding matching funds in the town’s budget to facilitate even more community amenities in the next four years.
Many citizens are unaware that the town has little control over the Main Street/Highway 21 corridor, which is under N.C. Department of Transportation jurisdiction. Rogers believes the town must continue to develop a strong relationship with the NCDOT to explain the town’s desires and to hear their viewpoints. Citizens can also express their concerns and learn about transportation issues through public forums that the town offers.
Rogers additionally expressed interest in long-range town plans to create a new business corridor on Lytton Street, which will eventually connect to Wagner Street in this scenario. “With Lytton Street, we have the traction to control our own destiny” in terms of traffic and development, he said.
Rogers believes his military background, which included work in military purchasing, managing a beginning officer’s training school, and 15 years as a pilot, provides an important skill set to help him as a council member.
Teamwork, mission planning, negotiation, and positive compromise are ingrained in his operating style, and his experience with purchasing and management are also assets to council work.
His understanding of budgets, planning, processes, decision-making and establishing priorities will also aid him in guiding the town as it faces growth and future challenges and opportunities, he said.
Rogers has worked with people from all walks of life and traveled all over the world, experiences which he believes will help him represent all of Troutman’s citizens. Being an educator in the community and working with students and their families, Rogers has a deep understanding of Troutman’s demographics and some of the pressing needs in the community.
Rogers is a member of Rocky Mount Methodist Church and the father of three children, the youngest of whom just graduated from South Iredell High.