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Locals urged to attend OLF meeting

ELIZABETH CITY – The battle to keep the Navy from building an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) at one of two proposed sites in Gates County now shifts towards Elizabeth City.

There, on October 23, the North Carolina OLF Study Group will conduct a public hearing at Elizabeth City State University in the Floyd Robinson Auditorium of the Mickey Burnim Fine Arts Center. The hearing is scheduled from 3-5 p.m. with an hour recess and then continuing from 6-8 p.m.

Local officials with Citizens Against OLF are strongly encouraging Gates County residents to attend the Oct. 23 meeting.

“The Citizens Against OLF group needs 500 citizens from our county to be on site when the Governor’s OLF Study Group arrives in Elizabeth City on Tuesday, October 23,” said Laura Dickerson.

Dickerson added that individuals and groups are encouraged to be ready to leave at 12:30 p.m from the old Sunbury School. She suggested bringing a sandwich to eat during the recess.

Soft drinks and water will be available in the parking lot during the recess.

“If you can only come to the evening session, go directly to the Fine Arts Center at Elizabeth City State University,” Dickerson said.

“Directions will be available at www.citizensagainstolf.com.”

She continued, “If you can coordinate a group, donate a van or bus for the day, or just plan to come, please call the event contact person Jackie Bundy at 357-1817.

This is a crucial day for Gates County – to show the Navy and our government’s representatives that we are unified in this effort to keep an OLF out of this county.”

Not only will Gates County residents be affected if an OLF is sited in the county, but citizens from adjoining counties as well.

Case-in-point is Hertford County. One of the two possible OLF sites in Gates County is the Sand Banks area, located just across the Chowan River from Hertford County. That area in Hertford County, located near Winton, is now the undergoing a boom in residential development. There is also the threat that an OLF would disrupt recreational activities on the Chowan River.

“We invite our neighbors in Hertford County to join with us in our battle to keep the OLF out of Gates County,” Dickerson said. “Please make your voices heard at the public hearing on Oct. 23.”

To date, two Hertford County government agencies, the county’s Board of Commissioners and the Murfreesboro Town Council, have passed resolutions against building an OLF anywhere in northeastern North Carolina. At their meeting on Tuesday, the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors discussed adopting a similar resolution.

Those seeking more information about the issue are urged to call Citizens Against OLF at 357-1909.

Meanwhile, Citizens Against OLF are asking Gates County citizens to take a public stand. Petitions and signs are available for Gates County residents to communicate to their neighbors and federal, state and local governments that Gates County is not the place for a Navy Outlying Landing Field.

No OLF signs and petitions are available at the following locations:

G.P. Kittrell’s in Corapeake

C & A’s in Sunbury

Java Cup in Sunbury

Lee Insurance at Eason’s Crossroads

Mundys in Hobbsville

Brinkley’s in Gates

Tar Heel Barbecue in Eure

Tax Office in Gatesville

Donations are welcomed, but not required.