Oct. 17, 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.
Tommy Klutz is an incumbent running for Blowing Rock Town Council.
Tommy Klutz Bio/Statement
I was born in Blowing Rock, grew up here and have lived here my entire life, never leaving. I literally grew up on Main Street in Blowing Rock, working with my father at”Sonny’s Grill,” which was a true landmark in Blowing Rock. I graduated from Watauga High School and a couple of years later, I married Ruthelen Hartley, who was also born and grew up in Blowing Rock. We grew up together in Blowing Rock.
I started my own woodworking and custom futniture building shop in Blowing Rock, “The Restoration House” and we have been in business for 41 years. My wife Ruth and and I, along with our two sons, Matt and Jason run our “family-business.” We also have an Antique Shop, called “Possum Hollow Antiques, along with our custom-furniture and refinishing business.
Having lived in Blowing Rock my entire life, I dedcided to run for Town Council in 2005 and was elected and then re-elected in 2009. I am running again this time because I truly care about my hometown of Blowing Rock, and seeing the many changes –some good and some bad, that I have seen over the years, I sincerely feel that someone who has been in Blowing Rock their entire life is definitely needed on the Town Council.
I feel that I have a “unique perspective” on lots of issues facing Blowing Rock right now, because I have seen, over and over, just what works best in our very
special mountain town.
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?
Tommy Klutz: As an elected official, I would work with business leaders, to encourage and try to bring new and “needed” businesses’ to Blowing Rock. I think that the town should relax some of our codes and “work with people” who want to have a business here and live here. New businesses would certainly help both full-time and seasonal residents of Blowing Rock. I also think that having “more to do” in Blowing Rock would help bring new potential residents or business-owners to our town.
HCP: What ideas do you have to address infrastructure needs of Blowing Rock in an aesthetically pleasing manner?
Tommy Klutz: One of my thoughts on addressing the infrastructure needs of Blowing Rock would be to connect and replace our aging lines to the new lines on Valley Boulevard going on with the 321-widening project. This would only help Blowing Rock along with the long-range plan we already have in place for replacing lines when they are doing paving on our town roads and streets.
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?
Tommy Klutz: While maintaining the charm of Blowing Rock, supporting economic development and tourism should not be like re-inventing the wheel. The town and our business leaders should encourage new and different businesses to fill some of our empty storefronts and if the rent was not so expensive on the year-round stores, this would help seasonal shops and businesses have more shoppers in front of their stores, too. Relaxing some codes, further reducing the parking requirements for businesses’ will make Blowing Rock more “business-friendly” and this, in turn, will help everyone who lives in this very special mountain town.
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?
Tommy Klutz: Generally speaking, if Blowing Rock stays on its current track for business, it is not the town council you will need to worry about changing, but it will be your Chamber of Commerce —until you, the business owner, has a Chamber of Commerce representative standing in your store asking what they can do to to help you and to bring more tourism to Blowing Rock. This would help all businesses. If Blowing Rock evolves in this way, I see that in a very positive light, but if it stays on the “business track”, it is today, that will have nothing but a negative impact for tourist and locals—- and especially negative for tourism in Blowing Rock. The town has made Blowing Rock “look” beautiful and will continue to do so, but the business community and business leaders must help!