Letter – Collaborate on Surry’s future

Published 4:50 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

The Surry County Board of Supervisors’ workshop on May 8 provided greater insight to the direction officials are trying to take to address concerns of the population decline and improvements to the county’s credit position. During the meeting the question was asked: If not the aqua center, then what? Suggestions for other ways to address our county’s decline are welcome.

When it comes to our county, what is our most pressing need? It is a medical center. A medical center addresses all age groups, is needed by all businesses, and is one of the biggest reasons people don’t live here. A few other ideas come to mind: bolstering education with a technical/vocational center for the youth and adults, or maybe a recycling plant on the property the county purchased on Route 460?  

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If we have more community participation in answering the question, “what can we do to address our county’s decline?”, then the most important priority will present itself.

Success will only come if we have community involvement, recognize our opportunities and do the hard work to accomplish our goals. We have a great opportunity to do just this over the next year. Put the community in partnership with county government to work on what is the best investment we can make for our community. Is it a medical center, a technical/vocational center, eco-friendly industries? With dedicated work, we can find these answers. 

Put the Planning Commission and the Economic Development Authority to work on this challenge. Ask for participation from town councils and the Surry Chamber of Commerce. Get students involved. Work with churches. Stand up community committees. Let’s work together on this challenge.

We can do this work at the tax rate of 70 cents per $100 of assessed property value. There is no need to raise taxes this year. I ask the leaders of our county to recognize the importance of investing in its people and doing the hard work to achieve success.


Dianne Cheek