Monday, December 07, 2015

We're The Seedbed of the Republic

This is a letter to the editor I wrote that ran in last week's Fincastle Herald. My husband signed this one with me.

""The county government is not in the historical preservation business. We've got other things that we do but we support it," said Todd Dodson with the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors."

This direct quote from a supervisor from a TV news story is one reason why so many citizens are upset about the county's stubborn refusal to review its plans to build this shell building atop the knoll where historic structures stand at Greenfield.

If county officials are not interested in preserving the very things that make Botetourt the special and wonderful place that it is, what are they there for? Just as Mr. Dodson thinks the county should not be in the historic preservation business, there are those of us who believe the county should not be in the corporate welfare business (what they call economic development), either.

We are tired of paying taxes only to have the supervisors turn around and give the money away to corporations that have no roots here, and no reason to stay once their "incentives" are gone.

If the county wants to bring in business, they should look at those with good corporate morals. In January 2007, Gander Mountain turned down $1 million in incentives from Roanoke County.  According to a story in The Roanoke Times, Gander Mountain Vice President Tim Martin said, "We don't think subsidies or tax breaks ought to be a prerequisite for opening a store."

That is a company we can do business with.
There are corporations that believe in standing on their own two feet and not in coming in, raping a county of its assets, and leaving.

We suggest the supervisors look for those companies and leave the shell buildings alone. Any company that would locate in this shell building after learning the history of its construction and the "relocation" of two of the county's most historic buildings is not a company with the kind of morality that we and many others want to see in here anyway.

The supervisors' stubbornness in this action is bewildering. If building this shell building is such a good deal now, it will be a good deal six months from now. If it's not a good deal six months from now, then somebody should say why this must be done in such a hurry. The county has waited this long to do something with Greenfield - what is the rush? What would six more months hurt?

One cannot understand the complexities of these beautiful old structures and all of the historic and architectural aspects of Greenfield in a few months. Indeed, it has taken more than 20 years for people to begin to understand that we have historic resources here that rival those of any area in the nation.

We are The Seedbed of the Republic, to borrow from the county's most popular history book, and the supervisors would do well to remember that. All we can determine is that either the supervisors are not telling us all they know, or they merely want to destroy what we have for the sake of another pitiful economic dream. That is nothing but foolishness.


  1. AND, there is plenty of other space at Greenfield where there are no historic buildings. Just north of the knoll is plenty of land, and also on the east side of that same roadway, north of the cemetery. Why are THOSE locations in Greenfield not being considered so that the historic area with the buildings can be left as is for generations to come to enjoy and learn from. The public is not interested in spending their hard earned tax dollars on shell buildings. Period. I agree with you whole heartedly, Anita.


  3. Here!Here! I walked around those cabins a few years ago and I think it's always best, from an historical perspective, to leave buildings where they functioned. You can get a real sense of the inhabitants and their literal surroundings. It's also where all the archaeological finds will be, putting the place in its complete perspective. It felt like a pretty special place to me. You need to run for office, Anita : )


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