Bitter divide inflicts deep scars

Published 9:24 am Monday, February 6, 2012

The Hertford County Board of Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, convening for the first time since the county was offered 25 acres of free land last week on which to build a new courthouse.

Turning their backs on such a generous offer would bury the commissioners, already feeling the wrath of many county citizens for voting to move the courthouse to Murfreesboro, under a mountain of criticism. Their political futures are already on a slippery slope – spending taxpayers’ money for land in lieu of accepting a free offer would send the commissioners over the edge.

Since September the board has been under the proverbial microscope after boldly announcing it would entertain offers of land to site the $8.6 million facility. Since that time the commissioners have weighed several land purchase options.

Ahoskie, the most populated town in the county and the region’s center of retail trade, and Murfreesboro, home to one of the fastest-growing universities in the state, are both worthy of courthouse consideration. However, neither stands to lose something they currently do not have.

Meanwhile, the only thing Winton can hang its hat on is that it serves as the county seat, and has played the role of a cordial host for nearly 250 years. Taking that away could serve as the final nail in that historic town’s coffin.

The biggest problem facing this county is not where the courthouse will land, but rather healing the wounds inflicted by this sometimes heated debate. The courthouse issue has caused a serious divide; friendships are broken, hearts heavy from harsh words.

Hertford County cannot move forward under this cloud of division. This situation needs to be resolved in order to mend fences and reunite the citizens of this county.

We urge the commissioners to do the right thing and accept the free offer of land. Not only is it the most appealing financially, it will also bring a close to this bitter debate among Hertford County neighbors. “Family” feuds always leave the deepest scars.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald