March 11, 2003

Tempest in a Tiny Town

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... the debate over the fate of Floyd rages on. The decision about the coming of Food Lion Grocery Store (yes, the 60 Minutes Food Lion) continues in an increasingly strident tone. The 'old school' sez hit don't matter who comes to put up shop in Floyd, if they hire anybody paying anything or serve any kind of 'food' that's just dandy and you hippies, if you don't like it that you can't just come in and take over, then maybe you should just move back to Berkeley. Understanding that you don't fight fire with gasoline, hopefully this short letter I wrote that was printed in the Floyd Press last week will throw some water on the impending conflagration. Or not.

Floyd is in an excellent position right now to change in a desirable and focused way. The people of Floyd can have jobs, convenience, revenue, small-town quality and pace of life, and an active and diverse community life; but these can only be obtained if all of us work cooperatively and proactively, while public input is welcomed and before final decisions are made that cannot be easily modified.

How many of our New River Valley communities, I wonder, now wish that they had been more forward-thinking a few years ago as they planned their growth and made the decisions about what they were willing to give up in order to get that growth. Now, for some of those localities, it's too late. In Floyd, though, this is just the right time to work on these opportunities for purposeful change.

The slow pace and rural charm of the town make it attractive to the increasing population of visitors who come to shop and enjoy our music, shops, and restaurants. These visitors seek out Floyd because of it's uniqueness, choosing to come here not for convenience or predictable hamburgers, but because it is not a cookie-cutter reproduction of small towns that have readily welcomed without question the franchised fast foods, shopping strips and growth-at-any-price construction. New industry and businesses of the right kind can be good for Floyd, but I hope we'll always ask if it is consistent with our collective vision for what we all want our town and county to become in the long view of things.

To make this happen, we must find ways for the traditional values, history, arts and crafts, and wisdom of those who have grown up in these gentle hills to be blended with the energy, experience, skills and creativity brought to the county by those who have chosen just this wonderful place to build their lives. The future of the county can be created by shared goals or it can just happen. This is our choice.

Posted by fred1st at March 11, 2003 05:41 AM | TrackBack

Well put, Fred. But if there is a huge dichotomy between the vision of the "natives" and the vision of the "hippies" there's got to be some kind of mechanism to bring the two into alignment. Does such a mechanism exist?

Posted by: sainteros at March 11, 2003 09:14 AM

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