Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


March 21, 2014

City hall: Unity needed in Princeton

— — A divided government can often prove to be quite troublesome both on the federal and local level. A good example was last year’s prolonged federal government shutdown. It could have been avoided if elected members of Congress had been able to work together. They couldn’t. And while most voters do expect their elected leaders to fight for what they think is right, they also realize that there is  a time to come together for the greater good.

That’s why on our local level we believe it is time for members of the Princeton City Council to come together for the betterment of their community. The prolonged debate by the divided council over the planned relocation of city hall has gone on for too long. It is time for unity in Princeton.

Recent meetings of the city council have attracted large crowds of concerned citizens, most of whom appear to be supportive of allowing New River Community and Technology College to utilize all of the old First Community Bank Building on Mercer Street for a new college campus.

And why wouldn’t they be? Bringing a college campus — and hundreds of college students — to downtown Princeton is one of the best kind of economic development and revitalization projects that a municipality can hope for.

Also of interesting note is the fact that most citizens who have attended recent council meetings also appear to be supportive of the idea of moving city hall to the old Dean Company property. The property was offered to the city by local businessman Richard Preservati in exchange for council allowing New River Community and Technical College to utilize the old First Community Bank site on Mercer Street. Yes, there will be costs associated with converting the old Dean Company site into a new city hall. But the decision to accept the Dean Company property has now been made by the majority of the city council — on a 4-3 vote last week. This decision removes the last stumbling block facing New River Community and Technical College — thus with hope ensuring a vibrant college campus in the downtown area in the near future.

However, some city council members have adamantly opposed the idea, including Mayor Patricia “Pat” Wilson. But Wilson now says even though she voted against accepting the Dean Company property donation she will now support the plan. “I do still have many questions and concerns, but I just want what is best for the city of Princeton,” Wilson said last week.

That’s an important concession for Wilson to make. We understand that she has concerns, but as mayor of Princeton, it is also imperative for her to work toward unifying city council, and making her city a better place to live.

It is our hope that last week’s vote will bring this prolonged debate over city hall to a conclusion. And the sooner a campus of New River Community and Technical College can be up and running on Mercer Street the better.


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