Gaston County is a very interesting county. We DO love it for all of its quirks, foibles, and life. That is why we chose to live here. Some have returned, some have never left, and some discovered this little jewel of a region-within-a-region.
Why is then, that each of the 13 organized and incorporated towns have to:
a) copy each other and duplicate a service, project, or program?
b) have competition, spurred on by local media, to be the “best of…” whatever?
The Belmont Front Porch commented on a Gazette article about Belmont being the most walkable community in the county.
Yet, the picture on the front page of the Gastonia Gazette didn’t even feature local people. One was visiting from California, one had just recently (we’re talking a couple of months) relocated here (so, yeah she is local – give ya’ that one), and one was visiting from somewhere else. Anyway,
Each town has its own police department, parade, festivals, sports leagues, even things like fund-raising walks/runs. Recent (albeit, good) stuff has included the trendy things like street “dances/concerts” in the summer.
These copycat ideas go back to the mill village days, where every village had its own everything.
So, what makes Belmont special in its own way?
Can’t be the revival of the miniature train – Gastonia’s already done that.
Could it be our “central park”? Stowe Park, is definitely unique to the towns and bergs of Gaston County.
Could it be our sports teams? Not really, each town had its own high school(s) back in the day (before 1969). Those allegiances carry over today as evidenced by last night’s football contest in Dallas (North Gaston HS).
Mt. Holly has a historical society, so does Belmont now. Belmont has a thriving downtown, Mt. Holly is moving in that direction somewhat painfully. Gastonia tries, but Gas-town has its own issues — like a major federal road through the downtown area and a recently constructed “ditch” for the railroad in town.
Every town has fireworks in the summer. Every town is striving to revive its swimming pool. McAdenville, Cramerton, Bessemer City, Cherryville, and Gastonia have all renovated the outdoor facilities in the past 5 years.
So, rather than feeling like we gotta keep up with the Joneses (or in Gaston County – the Stowes, Linebergers, Beams, and Rhynes), why don’t we cooperate on some of these things?
Every new idea is rife with in-fighting. Some of the recent examples are the horse ring, the senior center, the visitor’s center — still have a hard time figuring that one out –, and restaurants and hotels. Not much that some towns can do about certain business decisions though.
Even our current city council elections are offering more of the same – wistful rememberances of days growing up in town, and the standard fare of roads, taxes, schools, and growth. The other towns are doing the same thing.
Why is that?