Our List of Wishes For the Year Ahead
The Pilot hereby offers a few proposed resolutions for 2013, in no particular order.
Moore County: As they launch a search for a new county manager, the commissioners should give high priority to finding someone with an imaginative and forward-thinking flair - a professional who views open government and accessibility as a hallmark of his or her style.
In that regard, we find encouragement in the pledge by newly re-elected Chairman Nick Picerno's pledge to pursue transparency and accountability in county affairs. That hasn't always been the case in the past.
With that in mind, here's hoping Commissioner Randy Saunders, newly elected to the seat formerly held by the often-contentious Tim Lea, will emerge as the conscience of this board - helping steer it in positive directions, remaining true to himself, and always remembering that his responsibility is to the people and not to his fellow board members.
Now that the new Public Safety Center is about to open at long last, the commissioners alsowill need to focus on plans for adequate new court facilities.
Pinehurst: We wish the village a quick resolution to the fate of the historic steam plant. Pinehurst has grant money to help the prospective tenant, but earlier this year another business owner failed to get the financial support he needed for the project.
The building is in an area known as Village Place, formerly NewCore, an important link between downtown and the residential village.
Speaking of the downtown, we hope that the planned central improvements, including work on the sand parking lot and the Village Green, can get under way in time be completed well in advance of the back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014. Also, we hope continued development and marketing efforts will provide the one-two punch to bring in more new businesses and tourists, helping re-envision the downtown as a destination.
Southern Pines: The town needs to finalize its plans for the Downtown Park remake. It also needs to hire a new police chief who will emphasize a humane, visible, community-centered approach to law enforcement, getting more officers out of their cars and making their rounds by foot or on bikes.
Moore County Schools: The school board and still-new Superintendent Aaron Spence are approaching the first anniversary of what seems to be a healthy, mutually respectful relationship. It presumably will stay that way with the arrival of newly elected board member Ben Cameron, who promises to bring a breath of fresh air to the board's deliberations.
High on Spence's agenda will be the hiring of a new principal for Pinecrest High School. We urge him to find someone who places a passion for teaching ahead of bureaucratic process - ideally someone who already knows and loves this community, understands its traditions and priorities, and enjoys being part of it.
Moore County Partners in Progress: Partners and its dynamic executive director, Pat Corso, seem poised for great accomplishments.
We have especially high hopes for Moore Forward, a new initiative designed to attract entrepreneurs in the wellness, technology and military industries. This promising and well-conceived venture will be launched in a Jan. 15 event at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst.
Here's hoping the county - which used to spend $300,000 a year on economic development but has dropped its share to $100,000 since the advent of Partners - will step forward and pick up some of the slack that has been assumed by municipalities and private businesses.
FirstHealth of the Carolinas: The state needs to turn down Fayetteville-based Cape Fear Valley Medical Center's recent appeal of the earlier decision allowing FirstHealth to add 28 beds to its new facility now under construction in Raeford. There's been too much delay already. Put the welfare of Hoke Countians first.
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