The Transylvania Times -

Brevard's Best Days Are Still Ahead Of Us


November 12, 2018

Many of you have heard that “if you are standing still then, in fact, you are getting passed up.” I believe that is true in many respects and certainly true if you are talking about the progress of our community.

The Transylvania Times reported last week in a front-page story entitled “Witnessing the End of an Era” that the historic Mary C. Jenkins Community Center was removed after opening its doors in 1952. This important center, where many memories were made, was commissioned by one of Brevard’s past business leaders, Joseph Silversteen, and the land donated by the Jenkins family. While many people talked about this idea, others were doing...and the “doers” made a difference! In the past, some have suggested that this facility could never be rebuilt or upgraded as it had deteriorated beyond its designed use or habitation; however, those past nay-sayers were wrong as newer leaders from the Rosenwald Community representing greater ideas emerged to positively influence this needed change.

As an elected leader, I brought my faith and political philosophies to office. One philosophy that I have is that government should not own “all the land” or “hoard all the money.” I believe that government should ensure the residents that any specific and strategic plan needs to be funded; however, I also believe that you must give the residents the government that they pay for and provide not only the prioritized core services expected, but also the amenities they desire when affordable.

Synergy is also an important model for local government to practice as, I believe, it sides with economic “best business practices” and makes sense. Once the Mary C. Jenkins facility is rebuilt it will provide this. When operating at the local government level I believe that it is responsible for leaders to look for opportunity to get the most out of an asset when opportunity and affordability allows.

Change is inevitable and helps define a community. I think that some change continues to help define Brevard as an “above average” community. I have often said “managing change is one of the toughest jobs one can have” and it is especially true for members of Brevard City Council and also Transylvania Commissioners. I’m sure Mayor Shelton of Rosman and their Aldermen have those some of those same difficult issues in front of them.

Nobody wants to sacrifice “character of community” for the sake of unmanaged growth. This was a difficult challenge when Transylvania County had the dubious distinction of having the highest unemployment rate in the state not many years ago!

Some suggested and came before Brevard City Council to argue that its “code” was too restrictive. No one made a strong, clear or definitive argument that gained enough traction to convince Brevard City Council to lessen or change the requirements they were advocating for. Brevard City Council stuck to its convictions and envisioned a greater Brevard based on quality, not quantity. Property values have shown that quality has been sustained and that city council made a good decision. Be assured, city council will make any “common sense” change to our code when presented. In fact, some changes have been made over the past several years.

On Nov. 1, Brevard City Council met for a pre-planning session to prioritize topics and set a date certain for the Annual Planning/Strategic meeting. Several categories that specifically relate to the mission of the City of Brevard were discussed. They included arts and culture, economic health, environmental health, livable community, infrastructure and small area plans.

City council members know that every resident of Brevard expects each category to be planned with depth and detail, vision and effort. I am confident that council accomplished this. Every member carefully articulated their thoughts and opinions on each topic, which will assist city management and staff as they will prepare materials and data for this January’s Annual Strategic Planning Session.

At the pre-planning session, city council members were asked to prioritize the topics under the categories I mentioned above and, coincidentally, the Railroad Depot rebuild, to begin construction soon, gained the most recognition under the category of “History & Culture.” One reason is that the final phase of the Bike/Hike project will be built next to the depot facility that will, in part, allow for public toilets along the popular pathway where no such facility currently exists. To date, this project, driven by the community, has collected more than $85,000 in private donations. Many have told me that they plan to give to this worthy project before year’s end for tax deductible gifting purposes. Many want to be part of this great project by purchasing a “brick paver” with their name, grandchildren’s name or to memorialize a past loved one. These pavers will be placed on site of this project. Some have suggested that this is the “gift of legacy.” Go to or call (828) 883-8580 for more information.

At the pre-planning session gathering, each member of council was asked to rank topics under each category as to its importance and opportunity for the community. This was a simple but effective exercise that city council engaged in.

As mayor, I continue to celebrate Brevard as the best place to live, work, raise a family or retire. All are welcomed.

The last thing Brevard/Transylvania County needs are ideas that would change it into something that is not recognizable and that would cause it to lose its “character of community.” I hope you feel the same way. I believe that Brevard’s best days are ahead!


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