Monday, December 14, 2015

Another Letter to the Editor

This ran in the 12/09/2015 edition of The Fincastle Herald. For the non-local readers, the man mentioned in the letter is one of our county supervisors. He wrote a letter the week before saying he felt like he had to honor a 20-year-old agreement with county citizens, when they voted on a referendum for the industrial park and its historic assets over which we are currently having a major discussion. He also said that he was losing friends over this issue.

I appreciated John Williamson's explanation of his reasoning behind his persistence in bringing in a shell building at Greenfield, but I remain unconvinced that moving historic structures to do that is the only way to go about it.

As someone who opposed the Greenfield project from its beginning, I personally do not care if 20-year-old ideas are implemented now. Projects such as this should be living and free-flowing. In fact, the supervisors completely revised the document within the last year by voting to rezone most of Greenfield from a Manufacturing District to a Research and Advanced Manufacturing District (RAM). That's a new zoning designation they created and implemented solely to promote development of some sort at Greenfield.
This action tells me that this 20-year-old plan the supervisors are leaning on as an excuse is malleable. Saying that the historic part must stick to the document while the rest is manipulated by county officials' whims is disingenuous, at best. Obviously the plan can be changed.
The monument to Colonel Preston that is now beside Greenfield Education and Training Center was to be part of the historic area. The supervisors say they are moving historic buildings because they don't think people will drive or walk a short distance into an industrial park. Apparently, they think people will walk across four lanes and up a hill to a school to see this monument when they visit the proposed historic site. Isn't this a double standard? People who love history will go anywhere to see what they want to see, and true historians want to see things intact and in situ.
Shell buildings belong in the 1990s, when Botetourt County had a booming building industry and a better economy. Shell buildings are old-school, old-fashioned, and out-of-date. Not one single person I have spoken with believes this building will be anything other than a rusting eyesore 10 years from now. Some company might move in (or it will sit empty). The company will take the county's incentives for however long they last, and then leave. That's what the citizenry thinks of shell buildings. If anything else happens, it is pure luck.
The supervisors should take the time to come up with new, creative, and inventive ways to enhance and increase our economy - maybe by bringing in multiple smaller businesses, and supporting the ones already here. Pulling ideas from 20 years ago is not forward thinking. Keep your promises if you feel you must, Mr. Williamson, but how about doing it with some innovation?
The supervisors could take the money they must spend to move these historic structures and give it back to the state so they don't feel hampered by that 10-year-old road construction agreement. Or perhaps someone should talk to our state delegate, who, I feel sure, could make that monkey do a somersault and at least give the county additional time.
Finally, in my circle, people can disagree and be adults about it. We don't have to agree to be kind to one another. I have greeted Mr. Williamson with a friendly smile and a warm hello for 25 years, and have no intention of changing that, even though we definitely disagree on Greenfield.

1 comment:

I enjoy your comments and always appreciate the opportunity to visit the blogs of my readers. I hope you have a great day!