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The equestrian center from my front porch

In 2006, my husband and I moved from California to Tryon; an idyllic town with quiet star-filled skies, two-lane roads and gentle people.

We relished our small farm until new property developers came to town. The new buyers came with new ideas — the prestigious Tryon International Equestrian Center.  

Along with our worried neighbors, we attended meetings held by the new owners. We were promised by county officials that our taxes would not increase because of this facility, and the developers promised that traffic would be directed to avoid infringing on our roads.

We left those meetings feeling somewhat reassured. The carrots offered — more jobs for the town, more business for local vendors and restaurants — and the idea that this might rev up and sustain our flagging community was appealing.

Soon, the developers realized they would need to add another large parcel of land to allow for easier access — and then another.  Simple enough.

Yet, in the back of my mind, something kept nagging. I wrote my friends back in SoCal, asking if they remembered the movie “The Blob” — the menacing ooze that devoured everything in its path. 

A drive up our road to TIEC yesterday revealed almost 2/3 of the properties sporting “For Sale” signs.  

Prescience? Perhaps.  

Last year, our property taxes were increased almost 37 percent. Longtime locals on our street with set incomes worry they may not be able to meet the new tax payments, and will lose their homes.

The county has agreed to speed limits being adjusted on our roads to slow the traffic. The quiet and dark starry nights are no more.

I believe it may be too late to stem TIEC’s growth now that the venue is up and running; now that the interstate is being redesigned in two places; now that the World Equestrian Games are coming.

Too late now to close the door after the horse has already left the barn. 

I hope not.

I, like many of my neighbors, bought into the song of the Music Man — that he would save our town — right here in River City.

Playing the part of a fool is not a role I enjoy.

Pam Gordon-Menzies