Keys to propelling Tryon forward

Published 9:27 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2012

To the editor:
I was disappointed in the “ghost town” article for a couple of reasons.
First, I can’t believe a councilman would say “I don’t know how government can solve…” They probably can’t solve much, but they sure can help.
For, example, building rents are based, in part, on the taxes the owner pays. The town is already doing some things that should not be discounted, for example, providing support for the BBQ festival.
I was also disappointed in the author’s nostalgic review of “what used to be where.”  We are living in the here and now and need to be developing future oriented solutions rather than waxing about the “good old days.”
Here are a few suggestions- some are governmental, some are not:
First, combine all the county and city governments, policing agencies, and, to the extent possible fire services.
It would save a significant amount of money and a county of 20,000 souls doesn’t need all that government. It could be done with some employee reductions in the short term and letting attrition reduce the workforces over time to the correct amount of personnel. In many cases, it would increase the performance of the agency.
Second, hire and retain a Tryon town manager [while the first suggestion is being implemented].
I don’t know if it should be Joey Davis or not, but an interim manager of anything doesn’t have full responsibility and accountability so is somewhat less capable of getting results. We’ve been without a manager since about February.
Third,  we need a mayor and council who can play a leadership role in all these activities. It is easy to conclude they haven’t so far, and if that can’t change, we should change.
Fourth, I can’t tell which agencies, or associations are responsible for industry attraction but I don’t see much going on there, either.
We don’t have the large expanses of flat land to attract big industries that require it, but there are lots of small and medium sized industries that do no significant environmental damage yet provide pretty good jobs wages and benefits. We should be trying to attract them. Where will our young people work?
They’ll leave if we don’t have jobs. Use some of the tax savings in the first suggestion to finance a serious effort to find industry, jobs and incentives for them to locate here.
Fifth, to the extent we can, support what we have left, i.e. eat in the remaining dining establishments, buy from local merchants, use local service providers.
Sometimes that can’t be done, and sometimes the prices here are substantially higher, but, if you factor how much gasoline costs to go to Hendersonville or Spartanburg, some of the “stuff” there is not as low cost as we think.
Sixth, it has been said before,  but bears repeating, that Landrum has  a major highway intersection and the freeway. Saluda has the freeway and a nice highway intersection. Tryon doesn’t, therefore, we have to do things and have businesses that make us a destination.
We need “festivals” like the BBQ, but certainly different themes to get people to come here and they’ve got need have places to eat, drink and shop.
Seventh, clean up all the kudzu and invasive vegetation on all entrances to the town. Nothing says, to me, “We don’t care about our town” more than all the junk growing along every major entrance to the town. Work cooperatively with Landrum to clean up the area on Highway 176 that feels like Tryon, but is actually Landrum.
Eighth, ask the county to give the old St. Luke’s Hospital building back to the town so something constructive can be done with it or it can be torn down before it becomes another vacant eyesore.
We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we won’t get out overnight. The country is still in a recession, or close to it. People are watching their money closely.
The competition for all consumer spending is fierce and will only get tougher. Some towns will win and some won’t. It would be nice to see Tryon and Polk County win and survive.
Thanks for reading.
– Jim Wright, Tryon

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