Shame and outrage in Aulander

Published 8:05 am Tuesday, September 21, 2010

To the Editor:

I am a 51 year old black male who is a transplant from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Aulander, North Carolina. I have lived in my second hometown for three years. And I used to rave about the idyllic setting and aura of my new hometown. You know what I mean…birds singing first thing early in the morning, clean unpolluted air, people waving and speaking as they go by (even though they don’t know you)! Man, this is the life. Or so I would tell all I know and love.

Well, I can’t rave about Aulander anymore. Aulander is a dying town. Why, you may ask? Because there are property owners that do not want to see Aulander grow and prosper. I understand that often individuals get caught in romantic 20/20 eyesight of yesteryear. To my understanding Aulander was quite the place to live. Main Street and Commerce Street were vibrant with shop owners and plenty of customers buying their wares. Car dealerships, grocery stores, 5 & 10 stores, heck, there was even a factory or two here! Shucks! You wanted to buy it…you could find it in Aulander. Sadly, those days are gone for now. I applaud those shop owners and employees who still find a way to stay in business.

The town of Aulander is struggling to stay alive. We are located in the poorest county throughout North Carolina and our tax base is steadily eroding. Why? One reason is profit producing, tax base infusing and employee hiring companies are not able to procure property in my dear town! Commercially zoned real estate is a commodity and there are individuals who would rather hold on to non-income producing real estate. Oh, they are willing to sell . Yes sir Bob, they would sell, but at such an outlandish price nobody can buy! Several would-be merchants had offered to buy the land, but you guessed it, the property was offered at far above the fair market price.

Now get this, our one and only medical practice will be leaving. He is a much needed resource for our community. The doctor at our medical center has put in time and effort to build his practice. He has done so well in building his practice he has to build a bigger building. You would think this is a glove and hand fit…need property to build on, have property to sell. Match made in heaven, WRONG! …price is too high. So, there goes our only medical practitioner waving bye-bye to the Town of Aulander!

Please help me to understand, is it greed, selfishness, ignorance or just plain ole’, “I don’t care about the town I was raised in or anybody looking to attain and maintain that idyllic, serene, throw back in time aura of a small town where people wave and speak even though they don’t know you!

Philip L. Thomas