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LETTERS / Don’t Urbanize 17-Acre Farm in Boone

The Town of Boone will consider at its meeting today classifying a 100+ acre area near and including the hospital as a “wellness district.”  That proposal would encourage “urbanization and redevelopment of the area.”

I would propose one example of something that could be done there with a result that would be of enormous community value now and for the lifetimes of future generations.  The 17 acre remnant of the Henson-Greer Farm on the edge of Boone (near CVS and the Hospital) is now the site of a proposed shopping center if the Town Board of Adjustments will cave in and give it the significant variance applied for.  As New River frontage and drainage, the land is to allowed to be covered  about 24 percent  under current zoning and the variance application asks for 65 percent.  A significant portion is flood plain, and protecting the river here at its source is vital.

10 years ago, a group proposed the idea of turning this acreage, which is one of the last sizeable green spaces in the city limits, into an agritourism site that could include a year-round farmers market and store,  facilities for Ag and Arts workshops,  a community gathering space not unlike the Apple Barn in Valle Crucis, a river walk, and so much more.  The possibilities for Public entertainment and education are endless, and as a tourist destination it has huge potential as well. The owner seemed interested at the time but then simply stopped talking to us.  I still believe that a coalition of people and government could come together and make this vision a reality.  I’m not just talking about preservation of culture and green space.  The lasting benefits of what could happen on those 17 acres could easily become a star in the crown and a boon to the economy.   Or it could be the kind of shopping found in everytown, U.S.A.

Like the High Impact Ordinance, the vision described above will have no chance unless embraced by citizens and government alike, and maybe not even then, but I believe in magic. You might say that’s what it would take to raise the money for this idea, but as a visionary proposal with huge long term benefits, we believe it is an investment that could catch fire.  All it would take is a couple of local, influential folks to give it a push.  Now is your chance for legacy.

David Sengel