Okay, I'm writing this review because I use this site a lot. I think there's some mis-information about Rocky Mount here. Truth be made known, it is neither as good, nor as bad, as folks are writing.
So, here is my honest-to-God opinion about this place. I'm not a native, but moved here for a job and have been here for 10 years.
Pros and Cons:
The people here are very, very, nice. The city has a great arts center, a wonderful kayaking trail, and a community theatre that is actually surprisingly good for a small city of this size. Housing $$ can go much farther here--- you can have a great home overlooking the golf course for $200k. The traffic is not bad. Downtown has had some rough times, but revitalization seems to be slowly, slowly, taking hold. While there aren't a lot of restaurants, shops, etc. a good 80 percent of your basic needs can be met without driving to Raleigh. (chain restaurants, Target, WAl MArt, that type of thing)
There is a small but enthusiastic group of visual, theatre and writing artists in town...hard to find, but very cool people when you do find them. For the most part, if you find someone trustworthy, I've found some of the most incredible friends I've ever had. Crime is high for a city of this size, however, most of it "seems" to be in certain areas of town, so avoiding certain areas at certain times---while it doesn't guarantee safety--does help.
Also, if you have a good paying job, 30 to 35k can go a long way in this town (at least when compared to Raleigh or Charlotte).
I came here as a complete stranger, knowing absolutely no one, and I have been welcomed into the community with open arms.I do not have kids, but I have been told it is a good place to raise kids.
If you don't like Rocky Mount, the town of Nashville (15 minutes west) is a really cute, charming little place.
For the size city, it does have an uncomfortably high crime rate. For the first time since college, I carry mace on my keychain. However, I tend to believe that anything can happen to folks anywhere, but it is definitely a place where you want to keep your doors locked and be very aware. Sadly, there is a lot of poverty in the area, and sadly, this seems to include a lot of minorities, which tends to lead to crime. I have several wonderful AFrican American friends, and I hate that this aspect reinforces a negative stereotype, but poverty + lack of opportunities (for ANY race or ethnic group) is going to lead to crime.
Utility rates are unreasonably high because the city was a part of the whole electric co op back in the 70s (?). If your house is not well insulated, expect to pay 300-400 a month in power bills (which leads to poverty + crime).
I have heard there is a gang problem here, and I don't doubt it because gangs are everywhere, but friends of mine from larger cities say it is no worse than it is in other areas.
There are some racial issues within Rocky Mount. However, there are also some things that are made into racial issues, which I think takes the focus away from the REAL legitimate racial issues, and just pushes everything back.
It is NOT a good place to be if you are single. I do not have kids, but I have been told that the quality of the school system varies greatly depending upon where your kid goes to school.
People are not consistent about supporting new businesses.
In short, as you can see, it's a mixed bag at best.
So, do not believe the posts that say this is an incredible area with amazing shops and fabulous, restaurants and culture, but by the same time, do not believe the posts that make this sound like Mad Max in the ghetto.
Honestly, I am looking for another place to live. If I had it to do over again, I would not have come to Rocky Mount--however, I do NOT regret coming to Rocky Mount in the first place.
I'm just trying to get some honest information out there.