Reclaim a missed opportunity

Published 11:50 am Friday, August 21, 2015

There is no acceptable excuse that we know of which can explain why our community officials did not take advantage of the Community Investment Workshop planned for Aug. 26.

The Virginia Resource Authority had planned to host a free workshop presenting local government officials from across Western Tidewater and Hampton Roads with new state grants and loans. These programs could significantly lessen the financial limitations that prevent our local governments from pursuing economic development initiatives, infrastructure improvement projects and other ventures to improve our quality of living.

However, the VRA canceled the event due to lack of interest.

The City of Franklin and Southampton County are struggling to balance their budgets each fiscal year while continuing to maintain infrastructure such as stormwater drains and sewage systems, as well as attempting to attract new businesses to the area. There is no feasible reason as to why our elected and appointed officials would display a “lack of interest” in such an event.

Invitations to the workshop were reportedly mailed to each county or city official in Sussex, Surry, Southampton, Isle of Wight, Franklin and the seven cities of Hampton Roads. Only 11 individuals RSVP’d for the event.

Such a low turnout is astounding. It seems that we should be flocking to take advantage of grant or loan programs provided by the state government designed to benefit localities such as ours.

Representatives from the VRA have expressed interest in rescheduling the workshop with individual communities if the community leaders reach out.

Franklin, Isle of Wight and Southampton residents should encourage their leaders to reschedule this event. By fumbling the ball, we have missed a chance to educate ourselves on opportunities that could greatly benefit our community.