As small business owner and retired veteran serving the ARKWRIGHT community for the past 10 years, I have yet to see any significant economic growth since the superfund determination by the EPA and community development project by local government. Our current local representatives have focused on housing, community and health centers, without any real consideration of the ARKWRIGHT community itself. It is being publicized that over 200 million dollars has been spent on the Southside, which would calculate to over $20,000 per residence of the entire Southside.
However, as my store is in the ARWRIGHT community, we have yet to realize any of these projects closest to the residents of the initial containment site. We would think that the residence closest to ground zero, would be the ones benefiting from any federal funds received from this determination.
I speak to residence of ARKWRIGHT every day at my convenience store and we have seen no improvement in our immediate area. It seems the local leaders are only focused on improving areas of Southside, which are closest to the downtown area while utilizing the hardships of the present and past residence of ARKWRIGHT. All we hear is housing and community center projects with no real plan to address the economic decline and growth of homeless residence of the Southside, which is due in part to the slow growth of small businesses. In turn, we see our elected representatives focusing on their own economic growth and prosperity. How can our representatives be objective, when they stand to personally benefits from these projects? How can the residence of ARKWRIGHT see these improvements as they walk out their door? Why are local officials failing to address the declining poverty and vacancy of small business employment opportunities?
Jack Bryant, Maj (Ret) US. Army
Owner of Carolina’s Best Store
Founder of The Veteran Services Commission 501C3