Friday, May 04, 2007

South Under Siege--Beware of Sprawl

From the NY Times:
I join Mayor Tom Stevens for coffee in Cup a Joe, his “morning office.” The Wooden Nickel bar is his afternoon office. Everybody seems to like Tom, a longtime resident who ran for office because he “had a sense that this town was on the verge,” and he wanted Hillsborough to “be successful in a way that is good for human beings.”

He touts Hillsborough’s “authenticity,” deriving from its small-town character and its strong heritage — from Occaneechi Native American roots to its Revolutionary and Civil War history, to the jazz singers, mill workers and farmers of the last century. “We’re in good shape, with a 40 percent business base and 3.3 percent unemployment rate,” and he touts our vitality, with a newly vibrant street life epitomized by the monthly “Last Friday” festival featuring barbecue, bluegrass and blues.

But the mayor wonders how to “create a sense of belongingness for everybody,” especially everybody in the big new suburbs outside town. Bulldozers are rumbling in every direction. “We are under huge development pressure,” says the mayor. “Now we have to choose our future, and we have to do it right.”

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