• 55°

Maybe this will all work out, but …

I’ve been grasping at straws lately — any evidence that Rowan County government is led by compassionate, constructive people who have the welfare of the entire county in mind.
I’ve come up empty-handed.

We need statesmen to lead the county out of the slump that started with the closing of Pillowtex in 2003. The recession added insult to injury. As the national and state economies slowly pick up, will Rowan also rise?
The News & Observer published a map last week that should disturb people here. Rowan was the only county in the Piedmont crescent that has lost population since the 2010 census.
Neighboring Cabarrus is among the top 10 fastest-growing counties in the state. Davie, Davidson, Iredell and Stanly counties all saw growth. But Rowan shrank from 138,428 on April 1, 2010, to 138,180 on July 1, 2012. The difference may seem small, only 248 people. But if the trend continues, the consequences for Rowan could be big.
Meanwhile, poverty grows. One U.S. Department of Agriculture report puts Rowan’s 2011 poverty rate at 18.9 percent, with nearly 30 percent of our children — 29.2 percent — living in poverty. That’s reflected in the growing number of children qualifying for free lunch in our public schools: more than 61 percent.
Don’t look down your nose at them. Those children’s ability to read and write — to provide an able and willing workforce for local businesses and industry — will play a big role in the economic future of our community.
So will the ability of local elected boards to collaborate with one another. On some things city and county must agree to disagree and move on. But when it comes to positioning the community to attract the jobs Rowan so desperately needs, neither the city nor the county should have to go it alone. A “get out of the way” mindset is toxic.

Positive signs are popping up — many of them in the city. They include new retail stores on Julian Road, a Courtyard Marriott and Panera Bread on East Innes Street. Nashville Nights opened downtown. A “nanobrewery” will be going in beside The Salty Caper.
Integro Technologies has announced plans to build a $4 million headquarters on South Main Street. The schools’ new central office will be next door, if all goes well.
Hutton Growth One, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., has an option to buy county land for another shopping center off Julian Road.
Badcock Furniture is opening a store in Salisbury Mall, breathing new life into that area.
Nearly all that growth is in the city, but it boosts the tax base for both the city and the county. What’s good for one is good for the other.
Say that again: What’s good for one is good for the other.

Government growth provides jobs and improves our quality of life, too — from the Yadkin River Bridge to new buildings at the Hefner VA Medical Center.
The push to get an I-85 interchange at Old Beatty Ford Road is said to be gaining momentum.
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is celebrating its 50th anniversary and updating its campuses.
With the town board’s blessing, the LandTrust is nurturing a passive park into shape in Spencer.
The county has built a satellite jail and a 911 center.
City and county leaders have discussed establishing a business incubator.
Kannapolis leaders are talking about a new $20 million city hall and police station to be built on the N.C. Research Campus.
And Davie County, which is about a third the size of Rowan, is debating a new $53 million high school.
That’s a different county. Sorry. I got carried away.
By the way, there is someone looking out for the poor in our county. Rowan Helping Ministries is carrying out a $5 million expansion of its programs and buildings on North Long Street, including the homeless shelter and soup kitchen. God bless them.

Thirty-eight states allow recall votes. North Carolina is not one of them.
Maybe that’s a good thing. Perhaps our newly empowered leaders will learn to be less heavy-handed and abrasive and more fair-minded. They might realize how their words carry across the state and hurt the image of the very county they say they love.
They might, but so far we’ve seen no evidence. Once again, I’m grasping at straws.

Elizabeth Cook is editor of the Salisbury Post.

Comments

Comments closed.

Business

With remote expansion, outsource provider FCR looks to become an ‘exceptional part’ of Rowan community

Local

City expects $1.5 million surplus in current budget, ability to raise some wages for police, public works

Education

Enochville Elementary to host farewell event May 1

High School

High school softball: Carson beats West in a wild one

College

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will speak at NC State graduation

High School

Wonders, Trojans facing off Monday on Cannon Ballers’ field

Local

City approves two apartment developments, more than 160 new units

Nation/World

Crowds react with joy, wariness to verdict in Floyd’s death

News

Bill seeks to end pistol purchase permits from NC sheriffs

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 300th death attributed to COVID-19

News

Chauvin convicted on all counts in George Floyd’s death

Local

Top North Carolina House finance chair, Rowan representative stripped of position

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday