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Is keeping Chatham quaint and rural a form of elitism?

By Reba Curtis
Posted Thursday, September 21, 2006

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Gulf, NC - I am a newbie to Chatham County. I have a hard time understanding the economic politics of the area. I do not understand why a Walmart would hurt anything. As another Chatlist member pointed out, a one-stop shop, cheaper items of the same quality, new jobs, somewhere to shop within our own county, etc., are all good things.

Is the argument to keep the area quaint and rural a form of elitism?

You want to remain rural, yet people are hungry and without jobs. The children reaching adulthood go for long periods of time trying to find jobs. I have followed the lives of four such teenagers in the last year and all four still do not have jobs.

Many of the houses considered quaint go in non-repair, some abandoned for a double wide on the same land.

The public school system seems to be in shambles as the students take naps on the book shelves, turn their backs and desks away from the teacher and refuse to learn. What kind of jobs are they going to do for the future of Chatham County? Jobs for the educated seem few and far between and definately hard to land!

Is the argument to keep the area quaint and rural a form of elitism?

Or, perhaps prohibiting growth renders a negative affect to the area as it prevents the county from growing economically and providing for its residents.

As a new person, I struggle with these thoughts. Personally, I would rather pay higher taxes to be able to shop locally, to see the school system improve, to guarantee jobs and success of our youth, to see the rusted trailer and school bus towed off the back yard of the neighboring home, etc.

Fighting all the angles of progress is not always good in my opinion. Please do not take offense but try to understand what a new pair of eyes sees when they look at Chatham County.

I would rather take any management or organizational skills I have and demand that the children learn and grow and the school system improve than fight a much-needed store.

Lastly, if we want to keep the area quaint, with cute antique shops, local small stores, etc., then the residents need to support these businesses--spend their money in them and encourage even more such "quaint" businesses to open. If you want the area to remain farming land, then even farmers need somewhere to shop.

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