Time to speak out about TIEC

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The truth behind the push to build a connector for I-26 and US-74 in Columbus and to widen Hwy. 108 is the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).

As early as August 15, 2016 the Bulletin quoted Commissioner Ted Owens as saying the following in reference to the Equestrian Games: “The important thing is Columbus, Tryon, Saluda and Polk County need to take the lead and begin planning now and work with TIEC to do the groundwork that is needed to hold an event of this magnitude,” said Owens.

Owens also said advantages included the much-needed improved interchange at 74 and I-26 which will need to be completed. “I would think that the business community will see a boom in this,” Owens added. “We need to thank TIEC, Mark Bellissimo, Roger Smith and investors for their willingness to hold the games here, for there are other choices.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Really Ted? I need to thank TIEC for wanton destruction of property, the waste of tax dollars, and increased taxes that cause hardships for many long term Polk residents? We do not need a connector simply for the convenience of people hauling horse trailers that feel they can’t take an extra five minutes to go around the traffic circles. I kinda think we need to fix bridges and repave roads before worrying about something like this.

There are no traffic jams between Tryon and Columbus barring a wreck or road construction so why on earth does it need to be four lanes?

I find it disturbing that Sharon Decker, one of the senior vice presidents at TIEC, was giving input to Governor McCrory and NC–DOT in her role as Commerce Secretary on future projects back in 2013 (reference NC-DOT publication on Thursday, April 18, 2013) regarding construction projects in the next 10 years.

According to an article in USA TODAY on September 2014, Ms. Decker supported getting an exit ramp on I-77 for a private business development called Augustalee, which is very similar to the situation with TIEC getting a special interchange at the edge of their property. Conveniently it was located just at the edge.

How many other businesses could get an exit ramp and possibly a connector built just for them?

Following is an excerpt from an article in the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald from April 22, 2013 in which Ms. Decker’s Department of Commerce office says the following: “NCDOT is working closely with the Department of Commerce to invest in infrastructure that will help attract, retain and grow business in North Carolina.” The article goes on to explain the so-called selection process for DOT projects. “According to info on the NCDOT website, the Strategic Mobility Formula is driven by data and local input. ”

If local input is truly part of the selection process, then it is time for the average, full-time residents of Polk County to speak out against these special interest plans. After all, it is our tax money being wasted, our property that is being destroyed, and our quality of life that is being negatively impacted.

TIEC has already caused property taxes to be unjustly raised for many Polk residents, now this.

What happens if TIEC decides they want more property to expand in the future? Will they be granted eminent domain if surrounding land owners don’t want to sell?

Kaye Cannon, Lynn, N.C.