By Abbi Overfelt
September 20, 2013
To the editor:
Tuesday’s Laurinburg’s Exchange headline read ”Planning Board OKs military training facility.” Reading on it stated that the board opted to amend ordinances to allow such a facility to be located here and the former Abbott plant has been selected for this purpose by the Gryphon Group.
Bringing new life to the Abbott facility and with it, jobs our community desperately needs, provides hope that Laurinburg can be successful in attracting new business. Unfortunately, Councilman Curtis Leak immediately spoke out against the amendment, sighting that this proposal would never have been considered on the south side of town. I am not sure what Leak tried to imply but his words had racial overtones. Maybe he forgot that the industrial plants which were located in the northern part of the city were where most of the people in our community earned a good living. Four of these major plants have been vacant for many years. Having the opportunity to utilize at least one of them should fill us with hope instead of opposition.
The proposed training facility would not only provide jobs but improve the local business such as shops, restaurants and hotels. This training facility could be the building block for attracting more business if we don’t let it slip away. Opportunities like that don’t come everyday as the many years of abandoned plants in our community show.
Laurinburg has a long historic association with the military. In 1942 one of the largest training bases was build known as the Laurinburg-Maxton Army Air Base. The Army’s Golden Knights have a permanent training operation here and the Gryphon Group has been a good neighbor ever since they started operation at the air base. Laurinburg’s tradition of supporting the military is long. Being given another opportunity to continue this support should make all of us feel proud.
Lets hope the City Council will share this view and approve the training facility.