News-Star: Opinion

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This opportunity is too rare to miss

I have been encouraged by the recent support for the CSX project by N.C. Rep. Leo Daughtry, Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce Chairman Dwight Morris and Four Oaks Mayor Linwood Parker.

While I do not hold public office, my perspective is as a longtime resident who sees this opportunity as one to not be quickly shunned, as our county commissioners appear to have done.

As a matter of background and perspective, I grew up in Selma in the 1950s and 1960s, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, then spent 20 years away as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

I retired in 1985 and returned with my family to Johnston County. I have lived and worked here since, first in the banking business and now in real estate as a certified appraiser.

Industrial jobs have been hard to attract and maintain in eastern Johnston County in past decades. We saw the loss of all are cotton mills, including Burlington in Smithfield and the two mills in Selma. Also gone are Griggs Equipment Co., Sylvania, Channel Master, Eaton, Shallcross, Jerold and numerous others.

The land CSX needs to build its facility is located in a very fortunate spot for the future progress in Johnston County.

The jobs it would bring both directly and through new spin-off businesses would be a god-send.

Unfortunately for most county residents, a few vocal landowners appear to have harnessed the commissioners’ attention, while many who strongly support the project have not been included in any public discourse or hearings.

While many affected landowners would welcome the chance to sell at a fair price, all owners would receive just compensation, as the courts see to that in eminent-domain cases. And there appears to be plenty of similar land nearby where one could rebuild or relocate a business.

If the well has already been poisoned by our commissioners’ public statements, then it is hoped we voters will remember their lack of foresight and leadership come November, especially for ones seeking even higher office. However, if it is not yet too late, I urge the commissioners to invite interested parties to a public hearing and make all reasonable efforts to reconcile the sides.

Opportunities like this are too are for our county to miss.

Jim Woodard

Clayton

CSX hub needs to proceed

As a concerned citizen of Micro, I do not think we need to let this great opportunity with the CSX hub slip by for the people of Johnston County.

This is a great opportunity for more better-paying jobs for our area, which we need, since we lost thousands of jobs from companies leaving this area. like Fieldcrest, Sylvania, Burlington Mill and many more.

It is a shame to let a 28-year-old man and his father speak for everyone in Johnston County. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for our next generations. I certainly sympathize with a few people, but eminent domain has to work.

Gov. Pat McCrory is wrong and needs to get his head out of the sand, and our want-to-be state lawmaker, County Commissioner Tony Braswell, is bad all the way around for Johnston County. Why wouldn’t our governor and county commissioner want to help the people and grow North Carolina?

State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has jumped up and said no. Why would he say no if he has not researched the land? Most of the land is low land and swamp land, which a farmer can barely plant beans on.

I cannot understand our so-called leaders saying “yes” and then two days later changing their minds and saying “no.” CSX is willing to pay good money for land and bring good-paying jobs to Johnston County.

Folks, we need to think about our next generations and stop being selfish.

Eminent domain has to be done, such as Interstate 40 from Raleigh to Wilmington, when large farms had to be split up.

I can stand on my front-door step and count dozens of farms that have been sold when the past generations have passed away. I have had eminent domain happen to me twice in my lifetime, but the decision was out of my control because it was the best thing for the country. And I do not regret selling my land for that cause for one minute.

You see, it’s all about the best interests of the Micro and Selma areas, not just one business owner’s interest.

Ladies and gentlemen, please do not let this great opportunity get away.

I hope each of you will realize how important the CSX hub is to Micro and Selma.

Jerry Rhodes

Micro

He now supports CSX terminal

I have read a lot lately about the CSX terminal, and for a while I was not sure where I stood because I moved to Johnston County because of it being a rural county.

The Smithfield-Selma area reminded me of where I grew up on Eastern Long Island, so I did not want to see my adopted home become what my childhood home has become – overdeveloped and overtaxed.

Then I had a conversation with a friend of mine one night, and he explained of the hundreds of high-paying jobs we would loose and the millions of dollars in taxes from CSX we would lose if CSX does not come here.

But what got me on board was when he explained that the CSX terminal could also increase the value of our homes. Considering my home is now worth far less than what it was in 2001 when I bought it, that got my attention.

So I weighed the pros and cons – high-paying jobs; millions of dollars in tax base, meaning my property taxes might not go up for a long time; and the possibility of property values going up – and I now support the CSX terminal.

But I still do not want my adopted home to become like my childhood home; so whenever industry wants to come to Johnston County, I am going to pay very close attention to what it will do this beautiful rural county I now call home.

David G. Speckhardt Sr.

Selma

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