At the end, [Union County Chamber of Commerce President Jim] Carpenter seemed to sum up the feelings of many chamber members when he said with exasperation, â€œEvery time I have a meeting like this, I feel like I just want to go home and have a glass of wine.â€
That quote from the Enquirer article linked below, is a feeling that most of us have experienced some time or another. We all can sympathize.
The Enquirer Journal: Bypass frustrations boil over
Since moving to Union County, I have heard about the Monroe Bypass (euphemistically, The Carolina Coastal Connector) often. Argued points of toll road, no toll road, Heelsplitter exists, no it doesn’t or ‘who cares’, local exchanges, fat cats buying all the property along proposed routes, Alignment A, or B or C and on it goes.
One thing Union County needs as much as new schools is roads. The bombed out roads in Iraq are in better shape than Old Monroe Road, in fact most of the roads in Union County need help.
The EJ article spoke of the frustration felt by many, over the 20 year battle to get the bypass built. It’s easy to understand the delays given federal and state agencies involved, add in the county and local municipalities — a bureaucratic nightmare!
The bulk of the effort and coordination is now being shouldered by Christie Putman, Union County Public Works Director, who is trying to negotiate with literal ‘road-blocks’ like the US Fish and Wildlife and the Federal Highway Administration over issues of 200 foot stream-side buffers and other bureaucratic minutia.
Leaving the question of a bypass to these bureaucrats will only guarantee another 20 years of hand-wringing and foot-dragging — surely that’s obvious.
Union County needs leadership from it’s highest elected body, the County Commissioners to move the Monroe Bypass forward.
I suggest that the commissioners create a Bypass Committee, whose sole function will be to support, inform, coordinate and advocate the Monroe Bypass.
I further suggest this committee be bipartisan, funded and staffed by the county and meet monthly in the County Government Services building.
Who should be on the committee?
First, I’d recommend Commissioner Kevin Pressley, as Commissioner Chairman and Mumpo Representative,(1) he will be able to coordinate efforts though both organizations. I would further recommend that State Senator Eddie Goodall, State Representative Pryor Gibson, Chamber of Commerce President Jim Carpenter and the mayors of effected municipalities, Unionville, Fairview, Indian Trail, Monroe and Wingate be invited to join the committee.
These are just my suggestions, but I truly believe to get the Bypass built, we need the commitment and efforts of Union County’s leadership – an united front.
The synergy of a coordinated ‘political’ effort is the only way to accomplish this goal, anything less and we will get more of what we have now — nothing.