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Opinion Letters Just say no to De Train and ‘woe is me’ merchants

Is the rest of the Jackson County carrying on like the folks in Dillsboro? A quick drive down 107 or out to the hospital will tell you every auto parts store has customers, every beauty shop has customers, and of course, every drug store has customers. There are new buildings being constructed. Business may be down all over the state but every drive-thru joint has cars lined up burning that expensive gas so that the lazy driver (and most likely an overweight person) can pick up a burger, fries and soda. The bags, naps and cup will probably end up on the side of Highway107. It is so sad but true. It seems to me that everyone and his brother are looking for a hand out, bail out or some type of pay out. Whatever happened to self-reliance, independence and accepting the consequences for one’s decisions/ actions?

I wonder how many of the merchants in Dillsboro would lend money to a person or business without collateral or a financial statement. Let me address that statement, they would all be running in the other direction. However, they are willing and expect the tax payer to bail them out of their financial distress. I am fully on board with Leatherwood, Debnam, Jones and Green: The county should not be a funding source for Harper’s Folly. What is to stop this man from filing for bankruptcy two years after the loan and then reopen under another corporation? Actually, it would be to his benefit to do so.

Yes, Dillsboro is a lovely little village and yes it saddens me when I drive by and see the empty store fronts. Do I have the solution? I wish I did. It is time to think outside of the box because the $50,000 slogan of “Play On” is going to fail to make the cash registers ring in Dillsboro. It also saddens me to think that the only solution to Dillsboro’s plight is “The Train.” I agree with the person who asked, “How did Dillsboro survive before “The Train?” I also liked the idea one man had of the kayak/whitewater rafting park. I suggest you check out Hartford, Tenn. They have a small, but booming whitewater rafting business area with a zip line to boot. One solution may be as simple as advertising on local television. I wonder how that is working for the Jarrett House.

Potts states that the $46,000 in forgiven funds per year is a drop in the bucket. Perhaps he and the other merchants should form an association and borrow the $700,000 to give to Mr. Harper. The association’s members can contribute, say, $2,000 per year for the cost of doing business in Dillsboro and if there are 30 members, well, there you go, $60,000 per year to pay back the loan in 15 years. If they are really lucky, they may find a bank to forgive a portion of the loan if they make their payments in a timely manner. Good luck guys!

Please understand I have nothing against Dillsboro and I wish I had a solution for Dillsboro. I am however tired of reading about the “woe is me” merchants of Dillsboro. You made the decision to locate there, deal with it. I’m also tired of reading that the commissioners are considering to give a hand out of $700,000. Mr. Harper, if you want to do business in Jackson County, give up that financial statement, put up $700,000 in collateral or get out of town. This should be a loan, not a hand out. I also find it unfathomable that any Jackson County commissioner would vote to give away that kind of tax payer money and that is what they would be doing. If any citizen really thinks that forgiving $46,000 per year is going to generate $26 million in business each year I have a bridge in Dillsboro I would like to sell you. I am 100 percent in favor of “The Train” returning to Dillsboro and 100 per cent against giving away $700,000 dollars in tax payers funds over 15 years to return “The Train.” It is easy to support the return of “The Train” if it ain’t your money invested. Play on Jackson County, play on!

I wish all of Dillsboro a speedy recovery and also a last term for any commissioner who votes to lend Mr. Harper two cents and give away tax payer funds. It is time for Dillsboro to reinvent itself without “The Train.”

Frank Parrish — Sylva, N.C.


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