Letter to the Editor response

Published 10:19 am Thursday, July 25, 2019

Mr. Cole,

I am a bit perplexed by your letter that ran in yesterday’s paper entitled, “Let’s make Harmon Field great again” for several reasons. 

I would like to clarify some of the “issues” that you have with Harmon Field and how the Town of Tryon has maintained the park. I have lived in the Polk County and Landrum area my entire life, and have frequented Harmon Field and enjoyed all of the amenities it has to offer. While I may not be old enough to recall what the park was like 30 or 40 years ago, I can definitely say that it has improved over the last decade and has continued to be a hub for community activity and engagement for people of all ages. 

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You are spot on in saying that Harmon Field is a unique asset to the Town of Tryon and to the Polk County community. That means that ever aspect of the park is an asset to the town, not just the things that you use and like about the park. 

You state that thousands of dollars have been spent on the recent renovations to the baseball field and to the Pacolet River restoration while other key areas of the park are neglected. 

I do not know if you are aware, but the baseball field was renovated through the Harry Dallara Foundation. The Dallara Foundation paid for all of the renovations to the baseball diamond closest to the playground, and put an additional $20,000 towards the new playground. The Town of Tryon did not commit any money into that renovation, and actually greatly improved Harmon Field by working closely with the Dallara Foundation. You stated that few people would ever use the baseball fields, and while that may be partially true, it is undeniable that the playground is the “center” of the park and is one of the most used areas.

The Pacolet River Restoration project is another item you seemed disappointed with as it “ignored” the key areas of the park. The Town of Tryon received $165,000 through grants to help in the river restoration project. Yes, the town was expected to match the grant, but the Town was able to do so through a combination of funds, donations, labor, and equipment. So while the town did spend money to restore the banks along the river, they received an incredible grant from the state that helped make it possible while being allowed to combine assets to meet the grant requirements. 

You did raise a few good points about the need to address the ongoing issues with the restrooms, replacing deck boards, gutters, and minor repairs. Those minor problems do need to be addressed for the benefit of residents, but do not accuse the town of not spending funds wisely when they (the Mayor, Board, and Manager) took advantage of great opportunities to better the park and the town without putting a financial strain on residents through increased taxes.

If you truly feel this passionately about the issue, and you feel the town is ignoring it, you should request minutes to speak at a town meeting. And just a word of advice, it would help to learn the names of the Town Mayor and Town Manager beforehand. 

By Samuel Robinson