My thoughts slide between the lead article in the July 6th issue of the Rappahannock News [“Tiny Rappahannock ranks near the top nationally — and it isn’t necessarily flattering”] and the “Breathless in Rappahannock” commentary by Ron Maxwell in last week’s issue.
It is more than time to address the rather dire facts contained in the People, Inc.’s, findings on the reality of many issues here in Rappahannock, among them population, lack of growth, aging population, housing opportunities, education [and] transportation.
I would guess the scarcity of jobs contribute to the poverty. To avoid the scenario imagined in “Breathless,” how are we citizens actively engaged in solutions? Many of us are, as evidenced by volunteer activities like RappatHome, RappRespite, [and] a new one using volunteers to provide rides to grocery shop and doctor appointments. The Food Pantry with its Plant a Row and Backpack programs. Our churches have their own outreach support systems.
In addition, the county has restarted a committee to research broadband possibilities with a recent first progress report. It will hopefully develop actions for bringing necessary communication capabilities to us. This, along with development of cell service, is critical to our growth here in Rappahannock and is key in my opinion to preserving the open landscapes so desired not only by those who live here and cherish the privacy it affords, but those who come as tourists to enjoy the peace it inspires in hectic lives elsewhere.
How to achieve this? Look at the vibrancy now in Sperryville, recently recognized as a “Small Town Best.” Not too long ago it had an empty feeling as some businesses left. Thanks to small business owners who moved in with creative ideas, energy, and excellent offerings we have the wonderful village of today to enjoy.
There are similar opportunities in our other small towns here which can build small businesses and grow. They need the positive support of all of us which will encourage others to act on their dreams. Together we can have the open beauty we crave along with the necessary growth we need to thrive as a county community here if we can act on the elements [and] address the concerns described in the People, Inc., article and not let “Breathless” somehow sneak its way in.
Sheila Dwyer Gresinger