For whom does council work?

Published 4:42 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Happy New Year, Smithfield! With the new year beginning, I wonder what historic house Town Council will allow to be destroyed this year.

The victims were Pierceville, the 300-year-old plantation, in 2020 and the Wombwell House, the 1920s Tidewater cottage, in 2021. Maybe Smithfield Town Council can find some other important historic landmark to be demolished.

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And now, Mr. Joe Luter wants to desecrate the historic Pierceville property with more structures than any one piece of property should have. Wake up, people: The more houses, shops, restaurants and lodging facilities erected at the west end of town, the more people will stay there and not come back to the historic district to shop and eat.

Most tourists come to Smithfield as a day trip. It is difficult to visit all attractions in one day. If Mr. Luter is going to put on the Pierceville property all the buildings mentioned in the Jan. 5 edition of The Smithfield Times (“Pierceville plans presented”), just what is he going to want to do with the property where the hardware store/lumber company is located, should he acquire that property?

About six years ago, many citizens attended a Town Council meeting and stood up to show that you did not want Pierceville to be demolished and that you did not want major construction there. As we know, “we the people” did not prevail.

Instead, the council decided to build two barns on the Windsor Castle property. This funding could have helped save Pierceville. These barns were built for a private organization on town-owned property. Did you agree for those barns to be built? I have to question for whom Town Council is working.

The loss of the Pierceville plantation and the Wombwell House is a slap in the face of Smithfield’s history. This destruction should not be compounded by major construction. It is too late for Pierceville or the Wombwell House, but Town Council needs to be held responsible for the destruction it has sanctioned.


Betty Clark