For $65,000, the federal government was told last week why Soul City "had little chance of success from the outset."
These are the words of a report by AVCO Community Developers Inc., a San Diego consulting firm that studied the project.
It concluded that Soul City didn't work because:
Whites stayed away. They saw the project "as having a negative connotation -- a community built by blacks for blacks . . . an alien atmosphere."
Blacks had reservations about Soul City. Further, blacks living in Warren County and nearby Vance County were too poor to buy a house in Soul City where prices ranged from $35,000 to $45,000.
The project had too many negatives and insufficient positives -- too small a work force, too little natural gas too few shopping centers, restaurants and theaters.
In all, $37 million in federal, state and local funds were committed to Soul City. This includes $19 million in federal community development grants, $10 million in federal loan guarantees and $8 million in state and local funds.
According to William J. White, general manager of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's New Community Development Corp., the majority of federal grants went to the area in the vicinity of Soul City.
"In other words, the grant money that went into Soul City didn't really go into Soul City per se," White said.