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Please save Parker’s Ferry

To the Editor:

This letter was sent to the Hertford County Board of Commissioners and shared with the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

Chairman Ronald Gatling:

I am writing to express my concern about the proposed closing of Parker’s Ferry.

I am currently a tax-paying property owner of a residence in Winton, which I visit regularly, and a family farm in the county. Though I live in Raleigh, I have visited family in the area for all of my 68 years, and have deep affection for Hertford County.

On January 10, 2020, I read in the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that the ferry repairs had been completed and that the ferry was to be returned in mid-February. It is urgent that our historic ferry be returned as the San Souci ferry has been. The ferry belongs in Hertford County!

Because of its historic value, every effort should be made to save the ferry service. I was thrilled to hear that the Commissioners passed a resolution in support of keeping the ferry and that establishing a Tourism Development Authority is part of your strategic vision.

Parker’s Ferry preservation could be part of other revitalization efforts in Hertford County – like the Winton Historic District and the Ahoskie Museum– and similar initiatives in surrounding counties. It would be a shame to lose the historic ferry when visitors to attractions such as Merchants Mill State Park are increasing. Parker’s Ferry can also be a tourist attraction.

As a Raleigh resident, I know that many city-dwellers either have connections down east or enjoy exploring areas off the beaten track. The ferry adds a unique dimension to Hertford County’s cultural history.

Recently I viewed a 2018 WRAL-TV Nooks & Crannies segment on the ferry with ferryman Cliff Slaughter speaking of locals, farmers, and out of state visitors who had enjoyed using or discovering this unusual mode of transportation. Ferry Contractor David Hunt was also interviewed.

I strongly support any initiative, creative energy, and collaboration that can be quickly called into play to save the ferry before the scheduled closing. Please make every effort to find funding immediately. Please contact the appropriate individuals at NCDOT Ferry Division or other entities to SAVE THE SERVICE AND BRING THE FERRY HOME!

Barbara Boone Buescher

Raleigh, NC