Letters to the editor

  • Letters

Club thankful for support

Dear editor:

The Kiwanis Club of Spruce Pine would like to thank all the churches, businesses, civic groups, clubs and individuals who participated in the annual Spruce Pine Christmas Parade on Nov. 30.  

Despite the inclement weather, there was a great response from the community and the Kiwanis Club is grateful for everyone’s support and attendance.  

Merry Christmas to all of you.

Don Ford

Kiwanis Club of Spruce Pine


Family grateful for comforting people

Dear editor:

The family of Nancy Swann would like to thank everyone who offered their support in our time of loss. 

We appreciate everything people did for us.

The family of Nancy Swann


So much for sprucing up Spruce Pine

Dear editor:

Since retiring to Mitchell County a year ago, I have read many articles in this newspaper reporting various economic development efforts, either underway or planned. There are citizens and community leaders who want Mitchell County to prosper. I know that sounds like a silly statement because it’s hard to imagine anyone living here or operating a business here not wanting Mitchell County to thrive. So, how do you explain the county’s dismal economic profile? Un-engaged residents? Poor leadership? Both.

OK, forget the county’s economic reality.

Just look around while driving into Spruce Pine. You can’t miss the evidence of the county’s low regard for itself. Abandoned buildings decayed and standing like corpses. Rubble scattered across the ground like a war zone from structures torn-down (drive Highway 19E). Trashy trailers that appear unfit for human habitation (some left abandoned). Trashy semi-truck trailers parked off Highway 226. The list goes on.

In the 1980s I headed a creative team hired by the Jacksonville, Florida, Chamber of Commerce to develop advertising campaigns to stimulate economic development for the five-counties in northeast Florida. But, before we could implement a successful campaign, the city of Jacksonville first had to make changes to improve a visitor’s initial impression, which developed during the drive from the airport to the downtown area. A smelly paper mill located in nearby Saint Marys, Georgia, had to go, and it did. And enormous ghetto of shacks along the expressway route to downtown needed to be removed, and they were.

Our most critical challenge, however, was to create a sense of pride among residents, because it was they who talked Jacksonville down. We needed to turn our citizens into our best salespeople, and we accomplished that with the campaign “Florida’s First Coast” – the most successful campaign in the history of the five-county metropolitan area renamed Florida’s First Coast.

Following the success of our Florida’s First Coast campaign, we executed an economic development campaign positioning Jacksonville as “Florida’s Business City” (as opposed to the other major metro areas in Florida that were positioned as tourist destinations, i.e., Gold Coast, Treasure Coast, etc.). 

The economic development campaign’s appeal was to companies looking to relocate or looking to open satellite operations. It, too, was very successful.

But, it all began with a massive cleanup because first impressions are essential to success and prosperity. No one wants to move their business, their family or their employees to a place where the current residents have so little regard for their home they can’t even spruce up the place.

Bill Jones

Spruce Pine