At the last Louisa County Board of Supervisors’ meeting, before the vote to buy the land for the Regional Business Park, there was discussion about how to maintain the rural character of Louisa County. One member of the board referred to Zion Crossroads as a “lost cause,” meaning it was already ruined. It had to be ruined to preserve the rest of the county.
How much of the county do we have to resign to having “lost” in order to preserve the rest? Are Shannon Hill and Gum Spring to become “lost causes” as well?
The prevailing wisdom among our county staff and leadership appears to be that we do indeed have to follow this model in which part of the county has to be sacrificed to keep other (ever decreasing) parts rural.
There’s something wrong with this thinking.
We need to find another way. We need to think outside of the prevailing development models.
We need to find a way to make rural areas self-supporting rather than rely on despoiling one area for the benefit of another.
Raising taxes is one way. We need to find other ways. We know farming alone isn’t going to pay the bills.
Family-owned businesses making products that add value to agricultural products is another way. We have successful wineries and cider-makers. We have blacksmiths and compostmakers. We have cabinet-makers. I would be happy to live next door to any of these.
Let’s determine how many more such businesses it will take to support our schools and libraries and fire departments. Forty million dollars could go a long way to help our own Louisa citizens who dream of having their own businesses get the training and start-up capital they would need.
Editor’s note: This letter originally appeared in the January 31st edition of the Central Virginian, and has been reposted here, with the authors’ permission.
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