Keeping up with future needs that growth will bring

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, October 20, 2016

To the editor:

In response to Chris Friday’s letter dated Oct. 11, “Common sense funding limits for law enforcement,” where should I start? Where I left off, of course.

Chris, please get off the computer and venture out, and as I stated before, see the growth happening in our area. I was not necessarily referring to the population but more the economic growth. Oh, and by the way, if you had delved further into the local population you would have found that, yes, on a whole the population showed a decrease from 2010 to 2015, but since 2012 it is on the rise again and is 11.07 percent higher than in 2000.

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Also since 2000 the median household income has increased 31.10 percent and median house price has increased 55 percent. Now with those growth numbers from 2000 let’s remember the jail opened in 1975 and it’s old. Get out; go take a tour of it to see the dilapidated moldy condition it is in.

About the courts, what you read in the TDB are just the results of that given court date. It does not list the full docket with add-ons, unmentioned add-ons and unannounced add-ons or first appearances.

Let’s take Oct. 12 that you mentioned. On that day in District Court held in the Womack building, there were 129 cases, 16 add-ons and 6 inmates. At the courthouse where Superior Admin Court was being held there were 108 cases which amounts to over 250 cases that one day. So, yes, the hordes are upon us after all.

Also are you aware that including Criminal, ACH, DSS, DSS/J, Traffic, Magistrate, Criminal Superior, Superior Admin, Civil Superior and Support in the month of September a total of 21 courts were on the calendar and October 24 are on the calendar?

About the courthouse that’s over 140 years old: if you had actually gone to the courthouse, instead of looking at the Google Street View map, you would see that indeed as you say “the six prime parking spots” are reserved for the court staff, judge and law enforcement and are needed as they come and go throughout the day, and would hate to waste your taxpayer money searching for a spot.

You would also notice the front entrance of the courthouse is not handicap accessible due to two sets of steps, so that is why there are no handicap parking spaces on that side of the street. There is a big blue sign directing those seeking access and handicap parking to the rear of the building which not only has marked spaces but a driveway where they can drive up to and drop off people right next to the handicap ramp leading into the building.

As far as the astronomical price of $90,000 per acre, I can’t argue that one. But I can argue the $13 million for the new law enforcement and detention center is not enough. In my opinion, the plans for the new facility have been cut and down-sized to the point that within a few years of completion it will be overcrowded and in need of expansion, but as we all know it’s easier to add on after the fact. Or is it?

You talk about the lack of initiatives for the good people of Polk County, small business needs, business development and grants to help bring new business and jobs into the area. Do you know there are approximately 238 non profit organizations including a branch of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), 30 volunteer boards, Economic and Tourism Development Commission and a great Chamber of Commerce that are here to help Polk County grow?

If you have explored the area you would see the influx of jobs and the tax generating revenue from the Tryon International Equestrian Center, the Mill Spring Ag Center and the Polk County Office of Agricultural Economic Development which is the first in the state that has been instrumental in (pardon the pun) growing the small farm movement.

So, Chris, explore the area. You will see Polk County is growing and it’s imperative that law enforcement keeps up with the future needs that growth will bring.

~ Charles Weinhagen, Saluda, N.C.