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.