Editorial: Terry Bralley has it figured out

Published 1:47 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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Terry Bralley has it figured out.

As president of the Davie Economic Development Commission, he sees first hand the popularity of this area. And it’s his job to match potential developers with property, which too often requires a rezoning change in front of a contentious public.

That was the case last week in Mocksville. As usual, the developers won.

Bralley sees it differently.

“It’s called capitalism,” he told members of the Lewisville Clemmons Chamber of Commerce at a recent economic forum. “We happen to be in a very popular part of  North Carolina, which has seen some of the most growth out there with an additional 2.5 million since 2000. That’s a large amount of people. And you’re living close to an interchange here for convenience, and you want that cornfield to stay. That’s not going to happen.”

But we like cornfields. Soybean fields. Sunflower fileds. Any field, even an empty one.

But Bralley is more realistic. Our country is built on capitalism – making money. And that is what is driving all of the development.

He went on at the Clemmons meeting, explaining economy drivers and immigrants moving to the state.

“In today’s world, it’s analytics, the harvesting of data and speed to market. It’s a changing world. Out of the seven fastest metropolitan areas in the U.S., we have two of them in Charlotte and Raleigh. And Asheville is the fastest growing city. We’ve got a lot of opportunities, and I believe the economy here is going to be stable.”

He figured most folks would say Mexico when he asked what country the most immigrants to North Carolina came from in recent years. He was right, they were wrong. It’s India, “the largest English-speaking democracy in the world.”

But back to those rezonings. Bralley had his own take on those, too. He jokingly called them “a lot of fun.”

“You know what the No. 1 issue is? It’s traffic. People move here from somewhere else, and they want it to be in the rural country side, and now you’re changing all this,” he said.

He hears his naysayers, but he doesn’t let them bother him. When asked about the mindset of the community, he said: “I could bring a $100 million project to the table and hire a thousand people, but people don’t seem to care about it. They’re more interested in, you know, ‘Terry, you’ve done a great job. But when can you get a Chik-fil-A here’?”

He understands the housing and employee issues, as well, and said companies don’t seem to care that much because both are nationwide problems. Piedmont North Carolina is a historic home for manufacturing. “It’s what we do. We make things. We have a history of that.”

While still actively making Davie County one of the hottest spots in the state for manufacturing relocations and startups, Bralley can see the writing on the wall.

We need new leadership. And by new, he means younger leadership ready to take the place of those serving today, like himself.

“What we’ve got here together and being in great shape can drive our own future if we have the leadership in place.”

Well said, Mr. Bralley.

Like him or not, we’re lucky to have Terry Bralley on our side.

What we need to avoid some of the recent conflicts is more participation in government from the people. Don’t wait until the rezoning hits your neighborhood. If the town or county ever offers a chance to be involved in a project, take advantage. Let them know what you think, then wait and see if those cornfields remain.

– Mike Barnhardt