It’s not just sentiment
My family and I have lived on Oliver’s Grove Road near Four Oaks since 1980. We are the fifth generation on 40 acres that was once belonged to my paternal great-grandmother.
The Bensons, Johnsons, Adamses, Barbours, Woods, Allens, Jacksons, Prices and many more families took residence here and built homes to be near their families. There is something peaceful in knowing your neighbor is your kin, something money can’t buy.
What gets me is how people on board with CSX say just sell and start again. Here, we knew our neighbors would be our grandparents, parents, siblings, children, cousins, aunts and uncles. It’s not that simple to relocate everyone and have an expectation that we will still get to call our neighbors by these titles.
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So for those who are for the CSX hub, we invite you to understand what we have is beyond money and politics. It’s not just a sentimental connection to what was; it’s a human connection to what is.
CSX hub has his support
As a Selma business owner for the last 12 years, I would like to offer my support for the CSX Railroad intermodal project in Johnston County.
This is an important economic driver for Johnston County that will not only support the growth of new businesses and opportunities, but will make existing businesses efficient, economical and more competitive. It will spawn new jobs directly from CSX and many indirect jobs in manufacturing, distribution, logistics, warehousing, assembly and the service industry.
We are losing “over the road” truck drivers at an alarming rate because of new regulations and increased operating costs. This has led to the re-emergence of rail as a cost-efficient alternative to long-haul truck transportation. In addition, the port congestion on the West Coast and improvements to the Panama Canal are creating greater volume at our ports in the Carolinas. .
This is an opportunity for Johnston County to become an international and domestic hub of commerce.
The downstream impact to the Johnston County community would be significant:
▪ Jobs, economic growth, tax revenue and stability.
▪ No burden to schools, but providing indirect tax revenue.
▪ Community businesses benefit, including banks, health care, insurance, real estate, grocery and retail stores, restaurants, churches and professionals. Any entrepreneurial venture that can start in a market with a vibrant and stable economy has a greater chance of success.
In conclusion, I support the Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce, Johnston County Commissioners and the State of North Carolina in their support of CSX Railroad and its desire to expand its presence in Johnston County with the establishment of the intermodal hub in Johnston County.
Kevin M. Dougherty
Four Oaks wants answers
Quoting Larry Wood in the April 24 edition, “I believe in this community, and it deserves some answers.”
On Jan. 14, CSX announced a project to build a shipping terminal near Selma offering 300 permanent jobs and 300 temporary jobs and costing $272 million. On Jan. 26, the governor’s office released a statement on the Selma site: “Based on the vote of local officials as well as serious land issues, the current site in Johnston County does not appear to be a viable option.”
On Feb. 19, Johnston County’s economic-development director put out a call for alternative sites, and Mayor Linwood Parker stepped up with Four Oaks. But he forgot to ask Four Oaks.
Four Oaks has reached out by mail, emails and calls to the governor, the state’s Rail Division, CSX and elected officials. It has also delivered to the governor’s office a signed petition of 1,500 names against the CSX hub.
Gov. McCrory: Why was Selma not a viable spot? What were the land issues there? Could we see the land studies? What makes Four Oaks a viable spot? Can we see our land study, any study? Four Oaks wants answers, not a CSX hub.
Leaders creating mistrust
I agree with your editorial that Four Oaks Mayor Linwood Parker shouldn’t be slandered regarding the CSX hub. Unfortunately, our elected officials – Mayor Parker, the Four Oaks Board of Commissioners and County Commissioners – have created this climate of anger and mistrust in our town.
Reinforcing our concerns is the fact that a special town board meeting was called without sufficient notice provided to the community so anyone could attend. There is a lack of minutes documenting what occurred at this meeting. If this CXS hub is such a great project, why has there been so much effort to keep people in the community in the dark?
Since Mayor Parker “doesn’t deserve to be slandered,” what do the hard-working, tax-paying, faithful people of Four Oaks deserve? I believe we deserve to not only have our voices heard but for elected officials to actually listen to our concerns.
The Benson, Clayton and Smithfield–Selma chambers of commerce are determined to locate this hub in Johnston County. We in Four Oaks are waiting to see their maps of the 450 acres of land – the families, farms, homes, schools, churches and businesses – they are willing to sacrifice so their communities can have the CSX hub.