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Windsor, it’s time for a change

I don’t normally write local columns; instead I usually focus on national issues that catch my attention.

However, in light of this week’s municipal elections, I thought I’d step up on my soapbox and shed some light on an issue that desperately needs addressing.

The Town of Windsor is currently sitting at the edge of a precipice. Whether they choose to build a bridge to the other side or fall off the cliff is up to the town commissioners.

With a fresh face soon to be on the board, hopefully its current members will also be open to new, progressive ideas and be able to carry Windsor forward into the future.

The ideal of a small, quaint town with corner shops and horse-drawn carriages is a nice one, but it belongs in a different century.

Don’t get me wrong; I have no issue with any of the men currently serving on the town board. I think they’re all great people as individuals and many of them I have known my whole life. Yet as a board, their ideas are sometimes old-fashioned, and it’s past time for those ideas to change.

It’s time to move forward and give our citizens a chance to grow and expand. Too many young people in town move away for lack of jobs and a dearth of entertainment. The town is rapidly aging and if something isn’t done soon there will be few left but those too old or too poor to leave.

Windsor is in a position that it has the potential to not only keep its residents and possibly attract new ones, but it could draw tourists as well, if only the right establishments were available.

I’m not saying we should open nightclubs on every (or any) corner, but certainly we could at least allow liquor by the drink in our eating establishments.

As most in Bertie County know, several new planned communities are in the process of being constructed in the eastern portion of the county. Where those new residents will go to dine and shop is largely up to what the Windsor Commissioners do in the next few years.

Do we want those potential consumers driving across the Chowan River bridge and spending their money in Edenton, or would we rather them come to Windsor and earn more tax dollars for the town? I would hope the answer to that question would be most vehemently the latter.

If Windsor is ever to grow and prosper, that’s the only option.

The idea that restaurants should not be allowed to sell mixed drinks is antiquated and absurd, as is the one that no establishment selling alcohol can exist unless over half of its income is from food.

Why do you think the drug crime rate is so high in small towns? Kids turn to drugs because there is nothing else to do. Those kids grow into adults and by that time it has become a habit.

Perhaps if there was a legal establishment – such as a sports bar or pool hall – for people to go to and relax, you wouldn’t see so many young people riding around joining gangs and smoking crack.

I recall last year the Windsor Commissioners basically blackballed a man trying to open something like that for that very reason.

The man applied for a zoning exemption in order to open a sports bar that would have contained pool tables and the like. He planned to sell beer – NOT liquor – in addition to light snacks and sodas, and for that reason the commissioners said a most emphatic, &uot;no.&uot;

Personally, I think that’s pretty silly.

It’s not like the guy was proposing to open a strip joint, for crying out loud.

The establishment would have given Windsor residents, especially the few remaining young single adults, something to do except ride around town aimlessly wasting gas.

One thing I find interesting is the fact that the Windsor Commissioners approved a strategic plan done by an outside study group this past July in order to give Windsor a better chance to move forward.

Nothing has come of this so far, but one of the components of that plan was to legalize liquor by the drink in order to help promote tourism in the town. Since they voted to pass it, the town is supposed to follow the steps of that plan.

Whether they will implement that particular measure still remains to be seen.

Whatever the new board decides to do, I hope that it is something that is in the best interests of the town’s economic future rather than simply maintaining the status quo.

Want to let me know what you think?

Have a suggestion for a future column?

Feel free send an email to: jennipher.dickens@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7208.