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LETTERS / Common Sense and Facts

Sept. 30, 2013

Dear Editor, 

During these reelection times there are 2 distinct rumors floating and I need to put out the facts.

1.      The American Legion Building

The First Rumor was that I wanted the building torn down.

When the Legion Building was given to the Town there were different groups who were interested in looking at multiple options for that site.

  • One option was to build an Open Air Events Pavilion which one Commissioner already had a set of plans for.
  • A group traveled to show Town staff how a facility like that could help the Town.
  • There was the option to look to renovate and enlarge the building even though it was only being used a few times a year and it was questionable as to its foundation strength.

The council then asked 2 councilmen to solicit and obtain an Architect to see what the options were with the current building.

Once these plans were shown, the momentum to look at other uses was ignored and the plans to spend $150k of your tax dollars was decided and even the opportunity to discuss  the options was gaveled.

As a Commissioner my role is to look at all sides and then do what is right for Blowing Rock.

My opinion was that the time to spend that money on this Facility was way down the list of priorities.

2.      A New Hospital??

The second rumor was that I am not in favor of this facility.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS), a regional provider of healthcare in Northwest North Carolina, is in the final stages of planning for a new 112-bed, +87,000 square foot, post-acute care facility, which will replace the antiquated Blowing Rock Hospital. The new facility will be called Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock (Chestnut Ridge). ARHS’ investment in this project is in excess of $20 million. (Their Press release)

  • This project can be great for our town and the area. For some reason some people interpret asking straight forward questions as not being in favor of the project.
  • After closing the emergency room will there be a clinic? Will Doctors staff the clinic and if so what schedule?
  • ARHS  is asking for close to $1,000,000.00 of your money, which at this point we really don’t have.
  • The Town has been more than accommodating by first annexing the property and then giving ARHS the zoning they asked for.
  • ARHS currently with that land out there and the land at the BR Hospital are the largest Real Estate Developer in our Town. Who are they going sell the excess property to?

Is this a decision that you want your Commissioners to be rushed into making?

 Given my experience on the Council rushing to make a decision is the norm.

This decision will have a permanent effect for a long time.

We need to do our homework and ask the hard questions.

Politics can be an interesting thing during an election year.

May God Bless Blowing Rock’s Past, Present and Future

Dan Phillips

Blowing Rock Town Commissioner.