Tryon downtown in slow decline

Published 5:41 pm Monday, June 25, 2012

To the editor:
I read with considerable interest the front page article from the June 22 Tryon Daily Bulletin entitled “Tryon a ghost town.”
There is no doubt that the assertions made by Mary Prioleau are true. The evidence is apparent and the negative consequences are growing. Since I came to Tryon 10 years ago, our downtown has seen a slow and persistent decline.
As a pastor I am always keenly aware of how the economy and civil issues have a direct effect on the life of not only churches, but every not-for-profit institution, and the present business and political situation in Tryon is untenable for the sustenance of a vibrant community life at every level.
It was therefore serendipitous that on the same day that this article appeared in the TDB the Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith, the Episcopal Bishop of Arizona, posted the following on his web blog. While Bishop Smith’s focus was on the structures of the Episcopal Church and its upcoming general convention, his words are just as true for our situation here in Tryon:
“The first step in a growth policy is not to decide where and how to grow. It is to decide what to abandon. In order to grow, a business must have a systematic policy to get rid of the outgrown, the obsolete, the unproductive.”
“So stated the world’s leading business guru Peter Drucker more than 40 years ago. His “principle of abandonment” was central to his teaching, and has been incorporated by virtually every American corporation and business writer since then.
According to Mr. Drucker, institutions must constantly examine their structures and methods to determine what is productive and what is not. If it is not working, get rid of it. Growth will never take place as long as time and energy are spent supporting people, programs and products that do not produce. Before management can decide what needs to be done differently, they must first “clear the decks” of anything from the past that may restrict innovation. We can honor the past without letting it set the agenda. For an institution to move forward, it can never look back. In Drucker’s words, “Abandon all but tomorrow.”
The question I would ask of our local civil and economic leaders is this, “Why are we stuck and what are you going to do about it? Apparently Saluda, Columbus and Landrum are finding solutions, and places like Highlands are booming. Why is Tryon dying? No excuses.”
There are many proactive moves that could be made to improve the current state of things, but it will require courage, resolve and a willingness to make some serious and courageous sacrifices.
– The Very Rev. Dr. Michael Doty
Rector, the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross, Tryon

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