Everyone gains from cooperation

Published 1:47 pm Saturday, December 15, 2018

On Wednesday, Kevin Roughton, owner and president of the formerly Franklin-based heating and air conditioning business Quality Aire, celebrated the grand opening of his company’s new location — the former Isle of Wight/Franklin Skating Rink on Walters Highway. Roughton, who purchased the facility in March, invested around $300,000 to transform the 26-year-old building into offices and shop space.

While we at The Tidewater News certainly congratulate Roughton on the completion of his renovations, and his plan to hire additional workers now that he is in his new location, we also wish to draw attention to the fact that this move would not have been possible without cooperation among the three interested parties: These being the City of Franklin, which owns the Airport Industrial Park surrounding the facility, Isle of Wight County and Roughton.

When the skating rink closed in 2015, the use of the building was still governed by an agreement between Isle of Wight and Franklin, which both localities voluntarily terminated to allow the building to be sold and repurposed. The city then agreed to allow Roughton to purchase the building and two additional acres of land from its Airport Industrial Park for a price of $85,000.

The issue of to what extent localities should partner with each other and with third parties has been coming up in The Tidewater News quite frequently lately, often with at least a few people criticizing such efforts. While we can’t say for certain how Southampton County’s golf agreement or the city and county’s plans to share a human resources director will ultimately play out, we highlight this particular instance of cooperation to show that some intergovernmental efforts can, in fact, be of benefit to each locality. Franklin has gained the revenue from the sale. Isle of Wight has gained one new business and potentially, new jobs.