Letters to the Editor: August 19

Logic is lost

I think it’s completely reasonable for the town of Indian Trail to contribute $200,000 to the Stone Theaters project and would like to thank the council for moving this along. My wife and I will be taking our kids to the facility when it opens next year. What concerns me is this something for nothing mindset that people seem to have, arguing that Stone Theaters should come to Indian Trail “just because”, without any incentive given by the town. Economic incentives have been around quite a long time, as a way of enticing business to move to a certain location. But in this case, instead of giving money to the developer, the town council gave the state $200,000 to fix traffic problems. The theater isn’t the only one who benefits. We all do. Anyone who has sat in traffic coming home from work at 5pm will benefit. How is this a negative? What, would you rather have the council spend money on Ipads, like in Weddington or give themselves raises, like Marvin’s council did?

Randy Turner
Indian Trail

An open letter to Weddington officials

As I sit to compose this note to you , I realize there is no easy way to begin.

It is unfathomable to me that anyone would allow a water tower or watertanks to be built in our lovely quaint town of Weddington.

Weddington has a lure like no other. That lure will no longer exist if a water tower is built anywhere within Weddington city limits. Water towers belong in commercial areas, not residential.

Building a water tower will most certainly lower our property values (thus lowering your tax base), plus it puts all the children in the Baptist preschool in danger.

Besides these two reasons, the lure of Weddington will be gone, never to return.

The pride we all share living in Weddington will diminish as will the quaintness and small town feeling. A classy small town feeling.

So, I ask each and every one of you … is this the short sighted, narrow minded destructive result you want?

Council members in years past and all of you have all worked so hard to create what Weddington has become.

Why would you endanger it with a water tower?

Why would you endanger the lure of Weddington by erecting one of the ugliest metal monstrosities on such a beautiful tree lined parcel of land?

I do not accept the answer of a “willing seller.”

For $800,000 of our tax dollars, Union Co. can find a more suitable site, closer to Rose Hill (if in fact, their water pressure is actually the issue) and out of Weddington.

If only 14 percent of Weddington residents currently have city water, why would you allow this to be built here?

This site was not on the original site list and suddenly, behind closed doors, not only is it the first choice, but it also was surveyed and plans drawn up all at our expense.

I sat back and encouraged my neighbors, friends and fellow residents of Stratford to write … and write they did.

I applaud their support, their time given to this issue and their voice. You should as well.

No one wants this water tower, especially when they learn only 14 percent of current Weddington residents can benefit and only causes a negative impact on property values.

The town’s reputation, it’s appeal and it’s lure is at stake.

I will volunteer to help the city find a more suitable commercial zoned site near the main water line. It would be my honor to be part of the solution, not just sit back and complain.

If you feel compelled to build on this piece of land, why don’t you consider the library and park here? It is at a perfect intersection and will not lower our property values.
I am happy to volunteer my services … to save my neighborhood that I love and more importantly, to preserve the lure of Weddington.

Respectively yours,
Elizabeth Walsh
Stratford on Providence resident

Taxes Are Not Venture Capital

On Tuesday, August 9, the Indian Trail Town Council had originally placed on the agenda to hold a public hearing on an Economic Development proposal to give up to $250,000 in grant or loan form to Stone Theater Management, LLC for infrastructure improvements necessitated by the development of a theater complex in the Sun Valley area of Indian Trail. This is the same group that was recently given up to $30,000 by the Council to pay for a traffic study. The agenda was approved in the beginning of the meeting, but when the time came for public input, the rules were suspended unanimously and the portion of the agenda allowing for public comment was scrubbed – unanimously. There was a period of justification and redefining of what was going on, followed by yet another unanimous decision to simply pass the proposal as a referendum for $200,000.

Needless to say, it was a disappointment to those who wished to share their thoughts on the matter. Being that public input is apparently of no concern to the Council on the matter, I must state my position elsewhere.

A movie theater would be nice. This I doubt many people would argue. However, the project itself aside, there is a matter of principle that needs to be addressed. This term, Economic Development, is like many others in that it can mean several things. In this case, it means taking public funds and giving them to a private interest in the name of Economic Development. This presents three issues:

1. Public funds are derived mainly by taxation. Taxation is the fruits of the labors of the people in our community that are taken by the government for public expense. The use of these fruits of our labor as venture capital by private interests presents a moral issue.

2. Will the result be true economic progress, or will it set a costly precedent for future development in our town? $200,000 to promote the construction of a, let’s say hypothetically, $10 million complex. It will take over 20 years for the town to see a return on that “investment”. That does not account for the costs of additional public safety needs. Also, the jobs created will pay far less than what the median home price in our town would necessitate. So, then, what is the public benefit? None.

3. This form of Economic Development seems very much like corporate welfare. Taking from one private individual and giving to another by force could also be coined as reallocation of wealth, another moral issue.

I am grateful to State Senator Tommy Tucker and State Representative Craig Horn for making possible the state’’s picking up the rest of the tab for the improvements. As was said in the Council meeting, the area has been in dire need of improvement for quite some time. However, the $200,000 should have come from those who are developing the new complex, and perhaps the previous projects in the area which contributed to the need as well. In the future, I respectfully suggest the Council consider the idea that the money they are entrusted with is not to be used as venture capital. They are entrusted with the fruits of our labors, and are expected to be good stewards of them. Expenditures should benefit the people of the town as a whole.

Thank you,
David Waddell
Resident of Indian Trail and 2011 Candidate for Indian Trail Town Council

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