Winton’s future is now

Published 10:26 am Thursday, October 20, 2011

The gloves came off Monday night.

After throwing light jabs for several rounds with Town of Winton government officials, the chairman of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners unlaced the proverbial leather and tossed the first real punch.

Johnnie Ray Farmer made it abundantly clear at Monday night’s meeting that neither he nor the other four members of the board had any intention other than to build the new courthouse in Winton. That thought process took a big turn when Winton officials denied the county’s plan to provide enough parking spaces while the new courthouse was being constructed on a parcel of county-owned land that currently serves as the largest parking lot in town.

No matter how much land county officials dedicate to parking in and around governmental offices in Winton, there’ll never be enough spaces to handle the large volume of traffic on heavy court days. That’s not the county’s fault, nor that of the town. Being a small town, Winton is simply not blessed with an abundance of vehicular parking spaces.

The good news is that the county has plans that not only address the parking issues during the construction phase, but future needs as well.

The bad news is that Winton officials refuse to listen to that plan. Rather, they want the county to unwisely spend more taxpayer dollars to purchase private property, transforming that into additional parking.

Based on 500-plus signatures on a petition, presented to the county commissioners Monday night, that called for the courthouse construction project to remain where originally planned, it appears there are some signs of life in Winton. The lone problem with the petition is that we feel it was presented to the wrong set of local leaders.

Our advice to the good folks over in Hertford County’s “capital city” is to pressure your town commissioners to do the right thing….approve the county’s parking variance. It’s only for the courthouse construction time period. Just be patient for 18-to-24 months and it will soon be over….and you’ll have a beautiful 8-plus million dollar building, and the bodies and business that go with it, in your town.

If Winton’s leaders still say no, then kiss the courthouse – and the town’s future growth – goodbye.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald