Letter – Says Luter done with Smithfield

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Tuesday night, Aug. 1, I decided to attend the Smithfield Town Council meeting. I arrived a little late and left a little early because I couldn’t stand listening to woman after woman parade up to the podium to say whatever was on their minds. 

A lot about Joe Luter III. Never a word about all he has done for this community.  Never a word about the $30 million he has donated to make this town better, only personal attacks on Mr. Luter and the $250 million he wanted to spend to make Pierceville come alive with a few upscale houses, a new covered farmers market, restaurants and the extension of the Sports Complex all the way out to Wrenn’s Mill Road for our kids. (They will just have to play in the streets). A hotel and other additional ventures were in the planning stages not for Mr. Luter’s benefit but for the benefit of our community in both upscale housing and new business ventures. 

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These women and a few men, including one single member of the Town Council, dealt the worst blow to Smithfield and the surrounding communities it has seen in 50 years. 

I think we should give Mr. Luter his $30 million except for a few million so we can put Main Street back like it was prior to the renovations. Ramshackle buildings with knocked-out windows. Power and phone lines hanging and crisscrossing the street (like Thomas and Grace street now). Very few businesses and no tourists. Let’s get back the old, dilapidated shopping center where now stands the new Town Center and the always-popular Smithfield Little Theatre. And while we are at it, let’s bring back the old, dilapidated warehouses where now stands the Smithfield Foods corporate offices. The Family Activity Center at Trinity United Methodist Church, and the list goes on. 

Congratulations, girls. You lost. And a few men. The citizens of Smithfield are the real losers. No more donations from the Luter family, no more street improvements. No additional ballfields, just that empty field from the edge of the Luter Sports Complex to Wrenn’s Mill Road.  No more anything, no flood of money like it falls out of the sky. 

I am sure and have heard that Mr. Luter III is done, and I don’t blame Joe if he never even comes to Smithfield again. For me personally, he is the most generous man I have ever known, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for all he has done for our town. 

What’s next for Pierceville? What about a solar farm? Compared to farmland, the rent is pretty good and requires no water, no sewage, not an environmental problem, no traffic congestion. So, who is going to complain?


Frank Hall


Editor’s note: Of the 23 people who spoke during the public hearing in opposition to the Grange at 10Main, 14 were women and nine were men. At least two of the female opponents commended Joseph Luter III’s contributions to Smithfield.