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SoVaNow.com / August 28, 2013
Tom McLaughlin’s editorial “When the roof comes down” (The View From Here, Aug. 21) was excellent and well written. It is sad to see the smaller towns in America go away — but go away they must. Most were agrarian-based and happened to blossom when some manufacturing company moved in or some local resident decided to “go big.”
Those times are over as I am reminded by a friend who sent along about two dozen items (beginning with the “Jiffy Pop” popcorn popper and ending with a picture of a rotary dial telephone). All of these once-iconic items are gone. Even land-line phones are doomed. At least these products provide a warm spot in the memories of us older Americans.
Not the same with towns. Sometimes we just have to move on — and, unfortunately, in my opinion, small towns in America have not gotten the message. They continue to “hang-on” as you describe in your editorial when they should unincorporate. People need to move to those areas where schools are better and businesses cannot only survive but can grow. Hospitals and other essential service providers work better where there are larger numbers of people. The arts and recreational opportunities favor the larger towns that have a draw like a river, a lake, golf courses, and transportation.
Agriculture will always provide some means of keeping an area with a limited population like Chase City with a drugstore and supermarket. Social Security checks will give others a way to stay in a smaller area without visible means of support.
But we need to get realistic about where and how money is allocated that provides the best benefit for the largest segment of a population.
If Chase City and other smaller towns in America continue to think they can survive, they will end up looking like some of the ghost towns out west. If, on the other hand, they unincorporate and again become just a small residential population, they will be remembered as knowing when to close shop and be a favored memory by those who lived there.