Retirement community a viable goal

Cory Hughes

To the editor:

I would like to thank Mr. Charles Parker for his letter and thoughts with respect to the approval of Laurinburg as a Certified Retirement Community, published on Sept. 22. We are all better when there is open communication and comments. Your concern that we must, “do away with the negatives and spruce up the positives,” is spot on – and our community continues to do just that.

As a member of the city’s Beautification Committee, our group’s focus is on helping the city and county have a better “front porch.” Recent efforts include the welcome signs, focus on the Church/Main Street lot, the fruit orchard program, and the continuing tree planting efforts.

The downtown area also continues to be addressed. The Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Corporation has invested tens of thousands in the refurbishing and upkeep of the area, and just recently, the city has been approved for pathway to the Main Street Program, a program that can positively impact economic development, revitalization, and jobs.

But it takes effort from everyone. Like the Certified Retirement Program, having a presentable community is a public/private project, so we encourage everyone to continue to manage their space.

Unemployment and economic development continues to be a concern. It is an effort undertaken by all of us including city and county officials, the Scotland County EDC, the Chamber, the TDA, RCC, Target Laurinburg/Scotland County and others. It is a journey, but with Blue Scope, Cascades, FCC, and others continuing to commit to our community, it is a journey we will successfully navigate together.

The concern regarding property must be considered within the situation. The median price for a three-bedroom home in Laurinburg is $104,000. That equates to a property tax of $1,487. In comparison, N.C. Commerce spent the weekend in Parsippany, New Jersey at a retirement fair. In that area, the media price of a home is $460,000. City and county property tax is a combined 2.19% which equates to a property tax of $10,074. It is not surprising that when Commerce informs attendees that our tax will probably result in a bill of about $1,500, the response they get is, “Monthly or quarterly?”

Finally, keep in mind this Certified Retirement Community program is developed for small towns. You will not find Charlotte, Durham, etc. involved. One of the reasons for this is N.C. Commerce has found that retirees looking to relocate are most interested in settling into a smaller town. These folks have been a “number on a freeway” for years. Now they want to be a member of a community. As this program continues to progress, we look forward to inviting these retirees/potential neighbors to be a member of our community and we hope that others will continue to join us in this effort.

Cory Hughes is the executive director of the Scotland County Tourism Development Authority.

Cory Hughes

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