In response to Cannon letter

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dear Kaye Cannon,

I am originally from Eastern North Carolina and attended undergraduate school in the mountains of North Carolina outside Asheville. I was raised to respect North Carolina history. I was very impressed with your April 25 article. It shows an appreciation for North Carolina culture and an understanding that quaint small towns, the arts, the  activities in our surrounding forests, intelligent tourism, not an Orlando Disney and huge equestrian centers, are at the core of the cultures and infrastructures we want to continue to advance in Western North Carolina.

My husband, Tom Brylowe, and I bought the 100-year-old house on Hwy. 108 three years ago after falling in love with the village of Tryon and the surrounding small towns and forests here.  We have been systematically restoring the 100-year-old home log by log as part of our contribution to preserving North Carolina history. The expansion of Hwy. 108 would lead to a bottleneck into Tryon and Columbus and erode the unique qualities of those small, historic towns that money cannot purchase.

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I would be most appreciative to try to assist in the opposition of the expansion of Hwy. 108. We already have the roads to accommodate the equestrian centers [26 and 74] and I cannot sit idly by while villages like Tryon, Columbus, and Saluda and their historic importance are under attack with unnecessary development that only benefits commuters and does nothing to benefit the small towns themselves. The argument that making a highway into historic villages will boost businesses in the small towns here is dishonest. Commuters are not going to stop, stay, and shop on their way to work or the TIEC with their horse trailers in tow.

I would humbly add that study after study on historic preservation shows that historic preservation boosts the economies of small communities, improves property values, and increases tax revenues for those communities. I am happy to supply links to some of those studies if you would like. Examples of this include, however, the historic city of Coral Gables and the historic district of Key West, both of which do not even have the deep history of this region.

You do not suggest, and I am not suggesting, that small villages and TIEC cannot co-exist. The TIEC has to respect, however, the surrounding villages and small towns if it wishes to succeed and thrive in this region and capitalize on and take from the region’s resources; and the advancement of a project to create a $47 million plus, four lane highway to lead into a 20 mph village so that horse trailers can be hauled through does not speak to a project that benefits the small towns that can do so much more with greater support elsewhere for their infrastructures.

Nor does an expansion of Hwy. 108 speak to a project designed to co-exist with the local communities. It shows no respect for the local communities and local wildlife and is designed to solve a nonexistent problem to the detriment of the many in the local communities for the singular benefit of a few who presume to be better connected.

Those advancing the Hwy. 108 expansion, in short, are focused on their benefits alone.  I look forward to reading more articles from the TDB and trying to not sit idly by.

Dorothy Easley, Tryon, N.C.