LETTER: City asked to do the right thing

Oct. 05, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

To the Editor:

Since I do not live within the city limits, I couldn’t vote on the “City Beautification” issue. I do come into Sanford at least once daily, so without thinking about the consequences of the projects, I was pleased with the outcome of the voting. It seemed that the only result would be that Sanford would be a more attractive city. Was I ever wrong!

While most of the fuss before the election seemed to be about dollars and cents, I now believe the focus should be on common sense. Almost daily, I stop at The Landmark Breakfast Shop in Jonesboro for a cup of coffee, or occasionally a meal. I have noticed that over half of the customers do not have the time to spend that I do, and instead order takeout and are in and out in under five minutes — often far more quickly. They depend on being able to pull up in front, get out of their cars, place their order and be on their way with almost no delay. I have seen many drive-thru services much slower.

I discovered today that one of the plans for city beautification would take away the parking places right in front of The Landmark and replace that lot with a small park. Now this might be pretty, but at what cost? It is quite possible that The Landmark would lose half or more of its business if these parking spots are lost, and no small business can take a hit of that magnitude and survive. The result would be the loss of seven or eight jobs — each representing a taxpaying county resident — as well as the loss of the taxes the business itself pumps into the city’s coffers.

City commissioners should do two things: stop in at The Landmark some morning and watch the flow of people in and out of that business and in and out of the parking places that would be removed if this plan is instituted, and walk to the park just down the street and consider its usefulness. Then, [they should] ask themselves, “Which serves the community better — another park, or a thriving, tax-paying business?”

The city has the right to make these changes, but having the right to do something is different than doing the right thing. Please consider only projects that will not harm small businesses — the backbone of this country.

Brad Butler