In the ‘From the Mayor’s Desk’ section, Mayor Bob Staton waxes poetically about the ‘beautiful mountains’ and the ‘colors of our deciduous trees’ that bring ‘delight to the local hoteliers, restaurateurs and other merchants whose livelihood depends on tourist traffic.’
I could hardly read further. This, my friends, is exactly what is wrong with the approach to development taken by Mayor Staton and those on the council with similar (lack of) vision.
Adding sidewalks, multi-use paths, curbs and the deceptively named ‘greenways’ and trails through private lands, taken by the threat of eminent domain, is not wanted or needed in our village. This transformation will be in conflict with and at the expense of our years of historic preservation efforts.
Given the small size of our ‘downtown business zone,’ with the Sandburg National Historic Site and the Flat Rock Playhouse adjacent, I question the necessity of our village government being concerned with increasing tourist traffic. That there are no public restrooms or parking lots seems to be irrelevant.
I am not against sidewalks or preservation of public spaces. They have a place. In densely populated areas, a ‘green space’ to get away from asphalt is probably a good thing. But in Flat Rock, where it is mostly ‘green,’ it is ridiculous.
Creating 10-feet-wide multi-use paths of asphalt and adding concrete sidewalks from Ingles to Greenville Highway, while denying that there is a ‘plan’ to extend along Greenville Highway into the Village of Flat Rock, is preposterous. If this is what the citizens of Flat Rock want, then fine. But it is not.
According to the surveys conducted by the village in the past, sidewalks were wanted by approximately half of the respondents. But ONLY in the village center.
Never has connecting Flat Rock to Hendersonville and Jackson Park and the entire area via ‘trails and sidewalks’ ever been considered, let alone proposed. Yet, here we are.
The local citizens group Cultural Landscape Group of Flat Rock (CLGFlatrock.com), of which I am a member, has provided about 1,700 citizens signatures opposing this fundamental change to our nationally recognized historic town.
But even with a vast majority of citizens opposed, the current mayor and the present council think they know better. Regrettably, we shall see.”