You Said It…

You Said It is a periodic feature of The Mount Airy News, where we share comments we’ve received on Facebook, via Twitter, or on our website,, on articles we’ve published. The comments are reproduced verbatim.

In response to a staff editorial decrying the state General Assembly’s inability to pass a budget, two months after the deadline, we received the following Facebook comment:

Melissa Watts Hiatt: FYI: Not having a signed budget is not only playing games with schools, it is holding up services of mental health needs, daycare assitance, family programing and all other programs supported or enhanced by tax dollars. This budget needs to completed and signed for the general well being of the citizens that sent the house and senate to Raleigh.

On a story by staff writer Tom Joyce regarding city commissioners, except for mayor pro tem Steve Yokeley, wanting to reduce the size of the redevelopment area as defined by the city’s Redevelopment Commission to include only the former Spencer’s Proptery, we received the following Facebook comments:

Melissa Watts Hiatt: When folkes vote for Mayor they need to remember this article. The Mayor should have an open mind and listen to the citizens of Mt Airy. Mr Yokley you have failed miserubly in this situation. The board was developed to view the Spencers property and you as director of this board have over reached the intent. If you can not keep this otherwise small board within boundary, how can citizens trust you to govern our city in their best interest?

Tony Hicks: Way to go Jon Cawley!!! Glad to know you are taking care of this!

On the same story, we received the following comments on our website,

John Fleming: Just another way for City Government to over step their boundries, just because they were stupid and bought up crappy property “Spencers” now they want to force other businesses to spend money to “update” properties that are just fine the way they are. Take back the lawyers raise and fix what you own and leave the other property owners be

Advocate Mt. Airy: It seems that the voices of a few loud opponents (including the incredibly biased Mount Airy News) have scared the courage out of most of our commissioners to do what is right for our community. It is very short sighted to reject the redevelopment plan before it has even been completed or presented. It will also be very difficult to attract investment (which will bring much needed higher quality jobs to our area) with blighted properties surrounding the former Spencer’s property. The blighted properties listed are not a matter of opinion, but a matter of fact. The City appointed the Redevelopment Commission to plan for a successful project that will help all parties involved, and the community as a whole while preserving an important piece of our history. Why reject a plan before seeing it? My vote in this upcoming local election will be for the candidates who have the foresight to plan for our future in redeveloping the Spencer’s property and surrounding areas. This could mean millions of dollars in private investment, 100’s of new jobs, millions of dollars in tourism increases, and a better quality of life for our citizens. If we want young people to move back to Mount Airy, we need our local leaders to create a future for them.

LindaLea: If I were a drinking woman I would go out and buy a bottle of champagne!!! Thanks to 4 of our commissioners who finally see what we have tried to point out for 6 months. Eminent Domain—the taking of private property for a gate way!

LindaLea: Advocate Mt. Airy—are you forgetting private property rights given to us in the Constitution?

Moonstone: Everyone will be so thankful that the Redevelopment Commission was established 5 years from now, when we are looking at millions in investment in the Spencer’s property and more jobs for our city. This will only improve things for us, not hurt. Individuals who own property in the redevelopment area will only gain, as their property values increase with the redevelopment surrounding their property. The planning board is the group who declared it as blighted, not the Redevelopment Commission. The planning board was following an established set of laws – not something out of thin air. Anyone can ask for a copy of the list of criteria to declare a property as blighted, but let’s use common sense here. When you are driving through the redevelopment area, look around. You will see empty, dilapidated buildings that look terrible. This is an area where people enter our city and they see empty buildings that are not maintained. How can anyone agree that this is okay? I applaud the Redevelopment Commission for acting with courage and foresight, for having a dream for the future of our city. The Spencer’s Property is going to bring a lot of investment in our city, and we are lucky to have the Redevelopment Commission to put together a plan for our bright future.

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