Five Make Case for Pinehurst Village Council
When voters go to the polls this November, the development of downtown Pinehurst promises to be a central issue.
Five candidates running for two seats on the Pinehurst Village Council all acknowledge that creating a thriving downtown that is both family friendly and business-ready is a must for Pinehurst to prosper in the future.
How that is best accomplished just depends on whom you ask.
“First priority is we have to fill up our stores,” John Cashion said. “Every time somebody comes to Pinehurst, and every other storefront is empty, that is going to affect their opinion of us, and they are going to believe we are a dying community.”
Ginsey Fallon has proposed looking into incentives to help businesses stay open, as well as improving parking and bringing something new into the old post office.
“What I envision there is an emporium,” she said.
Scott Lincicome favors finding or creating a social gathering spot downtown that would draw more folks in.
“I have no agenda,” he said. “My agenda is to make Pinehurst a better place for resort guests and to get locals back into town.”
Mark Parson sees the proposed plan to enhance the Village Green as the key to downtown.
“You increase parking and look at the great, green open space you get,” Parson said. “It’s a no-brainer.”
The plan calls for a shifting of and improvements to the sand parking lot, along with streetscape improvements that proponents say will enhance the village. Opponents say it could jeopardize the village’s National Historic Landmark status.
John Strickland proposes focusing on the retailers, but he also thinks about a broader view of what the business community is in Pinehurst.
“What are some types of industry that can be settled in and around Pinehurst and build a network?” he said.
Ultimately, it will be the voters who make the decision on what is right for the village.
Early voting runs through Nov. 5 for the municipal elections, which are slated for Nov. 8.
Regardless of whether he wins, Cashion has made history. He is the first Pinewild resident to seek election to the council since the gated community was involuntarily annexed into the village 18 months ago.
Cashion worked for 31 years for Mobil Oil before retiring in 2000 and then moving to Pinehurst. Soon after Pinewild became part of the village, Cashion decided to seek election.
“I thought I had something to bring to the table to help Pinehurst and the community outside Pinehurst,” he said. “I can help us (Pinewild) be part of the growth and part of the solutions.”
Cashion said he thinks there are a few vital areas that will determine the future of Pinehurst, and they are tied together. First, he said, is promoting the downtown by utilizing its Landmark status.
“We need to protect our Landmark status,” he said. “But we should be promoting it as a historic destination, the same as the resort promotes Pinehurst as a golf destination.”
He said he feels the history of the village is strongly tied to its future and that the council must take into consideration what impact they have on both in making decisions.
Cashion said he thinks Pinehurst needs to do a better job drawing people to downtown. He said he envisions business owners and the community having a positive, more user-friendly attitude toward customers.
“We have to make it an attraction for people to come,” he said.
Cashion also proposes having a more proactive and results-oriented council with convenient meeting schedules to allow more public involvement for younger working families, who often cannot attend early morning meetings
“We have citizens who live here but don’t live here,” he said. “We take a good percentage of them out of play because they can’t participate.”
Cashion, who served a stint on a town council when he lived in a Dallas suburb, is a graduate of Southern Methodist University. He has served on the Pinewild Property Owners’ Assoc-iation Board (2005-10), twice serving as president.
Cashion lives in Pinewild with his wife, Jan.
Born in Reading, Pa., Fallon graduated from Hofstra University with a bachelor’s degree in education and from Kean College in New Jersey with a master’s degree. She worked for the Bernardsville school system as a reading specialist prior to moving to Pinehurst in 1986.
Fallon is the most experienced candidate on the council. She has served on the council for 18 years since being elected in 1993. She was most recently elected in 2007. She was appointed mayor in March 2010, replacing George Lane, who died Feb. 23.
During her tenure on the council, Fallon has served as mayor, mayor pro-tem and treasurer. She said the most important job of a council member is responding to the needs of residents.
“The most important thing you can do is be available to the residents when they call,” she said.
She opted not to run for mayor again, but said she did want to stay on the council because she still has things she hopes to accomplish.
“I have been on the council a long time,” she said. “I feel I am contributing, and as long as I can contribute, that’s really what I want to do.”
Tied into the development of downtown is improving parking, she said.
Fallon favors a plan to alter the downtown sand parking lot to improve its surface, which she and proponents say will open up the Village Green and make it more accessible to everyone.
“Right now, the Village Green is accessible to dogs and squirrels,” she said. “We are trying to have it look the same, but also meet the needs of the people.”
Another key issue for Fallon is a performing arts center that would be anchored by the Carolina Philharmonic.
She also stresses developing and implementing a regional water system for the area’s long-term needs, as well as recognizing the changing demographics of the village population by developing expanded recreational facilities for the youth.
Fallon has three children and eight grandchildren.
The youngest candidate for the council, Lincicome grew up in Atlanta and is a graduate of Auburn University. He has lived in Pinehurst for 12 years and co-owns HSP Realty Group.
“The reason I’m running is I want to make Pinehurst the best place to work, live and play,” he said.
Lincicome said that too often, the current council’s solution to problems are canned and stale. He said he can bring creative thinking and ideas to the council.
One of the major concerns for Lincicome — who helped found Pinehurst Live After 5, a event that draws people downtown for live music — is that nobody is currently going downtown.
He said the recent closing of the downtown post office and the closing of the ABC store several years ago have eliminated two big reasons why residents went downtown.
“The town of Pinehurst is spreading away from the core village,” he said.
He said the first key to helping the struggling downtown is to solve the parking problems.
“Infrastructure has to be in place to support any growth in any town,” he said.
Lincicome supports the proposed plan to improve the sand parking lot and open up the Village Green. He said those two things likely will make it easier for residents and visitors alike to come downtown and spend more time there.
He envisions a general store — something that would have no adverse impact on other downtown shops — going in the old post office building, which could be a new social gathering point in the village.
Another focal point for Lincicome is the coming 2014 U.S. Opens.
“With 2014 right around the corner, that, to me, is a bigger issue than water right now,” he said. “We have a chance to show the world how great Pinehurst is.”
Lincicome says finding a way to better market the village and its assets is also very important.
“We have the one tag that nobody else has — the ‘Home of Golf,’” he said.
Lincicome and his wife, Marcella, have three children.
Born in Akron, Ohio, Parson moved to Pinehurst in 2002. He owns his own business, Mark Wesley Parson Inc., which he started in 1985.
The business first focused on hardscape/landscape design and construction, but now has evolved to include commercial, residential and landscape design.
“The reason I’m running is because of what I do for a living, and I want to do it for the village,” he said. “I enhance properties, and I think we need to do that in the village.”
He said his background in architecture and design makes him uniquely qualified to deal with issues facing the village. He said improving the Village Green is a priority.
He said he believes that the project will enhance the area and will not harm the village’s National Historic Landmark status. He said he has also worked to improve village ordinances without allowing standards to suffer.
“I act a liaison to developers, but I am not going to ask them (the council) to do whatever they (developers) want, because it is my town too, and I want this place to look as good as it can,” he said.
In terms of downtown, Parson said he hopes any new business moving into the old post office building can draw people downtown by staying open for longer hours.
Parson said his ability to inspire people, be proactive and get things done sets him apart from his competition.
“I’m not there to keep a seat warm,” he said. “I see that I have the potential to do something by just being me.”
He proposes cleaning up the town by eliminating some of the sign clutter around town.
“It’s one of my pet peeves to get rid of some of this sign pollution,” he said.
Parson, who was a member of the village’s Historic Preservation Commission for three years, has volunteered for the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America for six years. The motorcycle ride benefits children’s hospitals and Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Parson and his wife, Kathie, have a son.
Strickland says his background gives him a unique set of credentials to be an effective council member.
After retiring to Pinehurst in 2005, following a career in banking, Strickland has worked on the Neighborhood Advisory Committee, the HistoricPreservation Commission, the Long-Range Plan Steering Committee and the first Village Green study commission.
Strickland has also worked as a volunteer at the Welcome Center and is a member of the Village Heritage Foundation.
“By participating on those committees, I’ve gotten a great deal of information on how the village works, what it can do to improve itself,” he said.
Born in Ohio and raised in Michigan, Strickland is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the George Washington School of Business. He has been coming to Pinehurst since he was a child to visit.
Strickland stressess preserving the village’s history while also bringing it into the future.
He said he favors the proposed changes to the sand parking lot and to the Village Green, but said the village needs to have a better relationship with the National Park Service.
He expressed concern that some people have told him they believe the proposed streetscape improvements associated with the plan would be detrimental to downtown.
Strickland said he sees the now- vacant post office building as a prime opportunity to bring in a business that will attract more people to the downtown.
“What we do needs to be thought through to determine if it is in the best interest of the businesses,” Strickland said.
Traffic is another key issue, Strickland said. Among his ideas to improve safety and quality of life are extending sidewalks in areas such as Village Acres, improving bike paths, greenway and walking trails, and working with the N.C. Department of Transportation to keep areas such as N.C. 211 safe for residents crossing the road.
He and his wife, Cynthia, have two adult children.
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
More like this story