Editor the Times,
In July of 2005 I wrote a letter-to-the-editor in which I warned “…if the people of Pendleton County don’t join together and come up with a plan for the future, big money interests would change our county in ways we may not like.” If not for three individuals who truly care about the direction of Franklin and the County that very nearly happened. A chain of discount stores selling cheap merchandise most likely made in China attempted to invade main street. The third spot they picked out was in the residential neighborhood right next to the place I call home. Tear down a beautiful old home to erect a community eyesore! It’s time to wake up; is this what we want for Franklin? Was our Franklin Town Council aware this was happening? Do they even care?
While I applaud the efforts of Laura Brown and Ciara Lambert in trying to resurrect the planning commission, the effort needs to go much further than that. I have a stack of letters-to-the-editor that I have written over the years addressing our future. Eighteen years ago, I wrote and circulated a position paper suggesting we pursue making Pendleton County a destination for all that is country music. I have spoken before the town council numerous times. I gave a talk to the businessman’s association on a vision for the county. I’m not saying these things to blow my own horn for I am not alone in this push that has been ongoing for years. Unfortunately, it seems as though it matters not what is said or who says it. It always falls on deaf ears.
We need planning but even more so we need a vision for the future. The path forward is through a common vision that gets the entire community involved. Slogans, signs, and neatly cut grass just won’t get it. Everyone needs to get aboard this train; the county commission, the town council, every civic organization and every individual. Where do we want the county to be in 5 years? 10 years? 25 years? 50 years?
Pendleton County is a wonderful place to live and we need to encourage people to raise their families here and give their children and grandchildren the opportunity to raise their families here. The future of Pendleton County lies with our young folks. They deserve every opportunity we can afford them. -Ron Kirk