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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hal Row's First Talk - Startown Residents vs Hickory Inc. - 1764 Business Park

The following is an interview of a group of concerned Startown area residents that are currently opposed to Hickory Inc. annexing property on Startown Road that will be used to build the proposed 1764 Business Park that is part of the Bond Referendum that will be on the November ballot. The interview was conducted on 1290 WHKYam Radio's First talk program with Hal Row.

WHKY does not archive these programs and make them available to the public, so I am putting this important public interview up under Fair Use guidelines.

Segment 1 - Eddie Ide was the man who had called in during the Monday Morning Meeting with the Mayor on Monday. He was interviewed along with (pardon if incorrect spelling) Debra Strauther, and former County Commissioner Glenn Barger. Mr. Barger stated that they aren't against Economic Development or a Business Park, but this is a high dense area.  They had believed, initially, that this was a Catawba County project and now they have found out it is a 50/50 project with Hickory Inc. This is in the county and as developed it will be annexed. A certain portion of the bond will be invested in this park. This area is designated as residential/agriculture. Their are a number of areas designated for business that have not been filled.

Segment 2 - Ms. Strauther wanted to live in the country and that is why she moved to Startown. She says that they have been working on this since 2011 and they are just finding about this now. She believes it will be an Industrial/ Manufacturing Park. She believes that they will be widening Startown Road. She says that there are already 13 sites that were zoned, but aren't developed. The 321 corridor was built to take traffic off of Startown Road and build industry down there. Hal contends that the site looks pretty good and has protections. Mr. Barger rebuts this with a contention about Robinwood Road. They want Startown residents to be heard.

Segment 3 - The people of Startown want this process slowed down. They want citizens informed and questions answered. Teacher from Startown Elementary, Margy Butterfield calls in with several issues and is offering a petition. Another lady called in favor of the park and talked about misinformation. There will be no building built until parcels are sold. Five lane road isn't happening. She says she has a child here that would like to work here, but there is nothing here and this offers a real possibility. She said that people should read about what is actually happening. Ms. Strauther wants more restrictions on this property. They talked about the meeting of the County Commission next Monday night. Caller Jeff brings up Lowe's on 127 and lack of issues there. Ms. Strauthersays kids aren't getting off the school bus on that road. They are on Startown and Robinwood Road.

Segment 4 - Caller Lewis says Startown has no representation, because their planning board representative had to recuse himself, because he is related to the property owner.  No EDC or Planning Board reps showed up the the meeting held the other night. Mr. Ide spoke about other buildings that are available. We have plenty of spaces available. Good park, Good idea... wrong location. Ms. Strauther says this will bring people from other areas. We need to focus on our area and growing the economy in our area. Mr. Barger states that this park violates present community development plans.


Harry Hipps said...

There has been a lot of misinformation about this park. I've seen on social media that Hickory is annexing Startown,(not true, just this acreage not the whole town of Startown( that this site is in the country (it's right next to Catawba Valley Blvd where the mall and shopping centers are located, and across from CVCC -hardly "the country"), that they sneeked this in (there have been numerous meetings that were sparsely attended) and so on. I understand differing points of view and opinions but get the facts straight. And the comment made that we don't want people coming from outside the county to live and work here is very unwelcoming and will hurt this area if we don't start making up for the large loss of jobs and population we've experienced. This tribalism is hurting us.

TM said...

I agree with getting the facts straight, and a lot of 'country people' are just like other people in other areas...they hear one little thing, pass it on to the next person, and the stories grow. I can see how the idea that the community of Startown would be annexed could have been spread. The property in question is close, but not right next to, Catawba Valley Blvd, and acts as a buffer between city and country. That is in fact 'farm property', as much of Hickory certainly was itself at one time. The thing is, if we continue to remove these buffers, eventually, theoretically, the city of Hickory could possibly reach as far as Highway 10 and Startown Crossroads - what many consider to be a sort of midpoint for this community. People may point to Fairgrove Business Park as an example of success, but that area was a joke for a long were well overpriced on the advice of the economic director, and for a long time businesses expressed interest only to walk away when they heard what it would cost them. There are SO many unused properties in the city that need to be used. These places are in areas that are already commercialized; turn them into mini-business parks. As one lady stated, school buses stop on Startown Road - this is nothing like the Lowes on Hwy 127. I do not particularly care for throwing the children out as a defense for one's position, but in this instance I agree. These buses travel up to Catawba Valley Blvd...children in the apartments behind the mall go to Startown Elementary school...not to schools in Hickory. The city has to stop encroaching somewhere...and Hickory needs to learn how to take no for an answer.