Compiled by Jesse Wood
Oct. 18, 2013. High Country Press asked candidates in the Blowing Rock Town Council and mayoral races four questions. As the candidates respond, answers from those running for Blowing Rock Town Council will be posted here and those running for mayor will be posted here.
Ray Pickett is running for Blowing Rock Town Council.
Ray Pickett Bio/Statement
- Graduated Watuaga High School – 1987
- CCC&TI 1989 – 1991
- Restaurant management 1992 – 2000
- Blowing Rock Inn – family business since 2001
- Vice-Chair of Blowing Rock Planning Board
- Member of Blowing Rock Comprehensive Study Committee
- Member of Blowing Rock Downtown Retail Strategy Committee
- Rotary of Blowing Rock Board of Directors
- Chairman of Rotary Community Service Committee
- Blowing Rock Historical Society Board of Directors
- Economic Development Committee
- Community and Government Committee
- Volunteer for town events and festivals
- Yearly volunteer for town clean up
- HCP: Considering Blowing Rock’s lackluster population growth in the past decade, as an elected official, what would you do to attract new residents – both full-time and seasonal – to Blowing Rock in terms of being an attractive place to live, work and play?
Ray Pickett: To help encourage new residents I would work with our Chamber of Commerce to recruit new businesses to town. The companies to recruit are the small technology businesses that will help bring young families with children to town. This type of business will survive well in the atmosphere of Blowing Rock, fitting into the small rental spaces that are offered, not putting huge strains on are infrastructure and still bringing income to the town budget through tax revenue. The town already has many of the things these families will look for when relocating: a good school, quality of life and great outdoor areas. However all of these qualities must be taken care of and expanded.
- HCP: What ideas do you have to address infrastructure needs of Blowing Rock in an aesthetically pleasing manner?
Ray Pickett: Many of the most expensive infrastructure needs are water and sewer upgrades and those needs are underground, so once fixed will be unseen. One of the needs that may be very visual is storm water control and this can be addressed cost effectively for both utilitarian and aesthetic needs. Also sidewalks in town need to be repaired or replaced in many places and new ones added in others that are not currently in the street scape plan. As with anything we need a plan for all the infrastructure needs which list all need in order of worst first and wants last.
- HCP: While maintaining the charm of Blowing Rock, how would you support economic development and tourism in terms of getting new businesses to fill empty storefronts and keep current businesses operating in town?
Ray Pickett: Maintaining the charm of Blowing Rock is a goal of mine, because many people visit and live in Blowing Rock for that charm. With economic development in mind, tourism is the driving force in Blowing Rock, to help grow this I would work with the Tourism Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce to try and bring more visitors here in the slower times of the season. Also I would support more projects like the Middle Fork Greenway, with new outdoor activities such as this we can open up opportunities for new types of businesses to come to downtown.
- HCP: Generally speaking, how do you see the Town of Blowing Rock evolving years from now? Do you see this evolution in a positive or negative light for both tourists and/or locals?
Ray Pickett: I see Blowing Rock evolving as all things must. But I believe this evolution can be positive and move the Town forward while still maintaining the roots of charm that we all love. This evolution is what I want to be a part of, to guide Blowing Rock in a way that will bring all the people of Blowing Rock together.