Words Unearth A Willingness To Work Together For PE-Town

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

During last week's agenda-less quarterly joint meeting between the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors and Farmville's Town Council we saw again the difference one person can make by speaking up for their beliefs. Especially when those beliefs are shared by others. How one person can become two and three people rallying behind an idea was palpably demonstrated.

Drops of rain can become a stream that fills an ocean, or a water treatment plant, if rainfall follows. Just as the first voice breaks the silence, the voices that follow ensure silence doesn't regain its foothold. Each voice is crucial-a drop of rain can begin what becomes the stream but it cannot create the stream alone.

Last week's quarterly joint meeting between the governing bodies was ending without a single word spoken about water, the Sandy River Reservoir, or a pipeline until Town Council member Sally Thompson introduced the subject by proposing that the Town and County work together and partner on piping reservoir water to the town for use by Farmville and Prince Edward.

Her words were the match that lit the candle that filled the room with illumination.

Fellow Town Council members Dr. Edward I. Gordon and Donald L. Hunter contributed their own vital supportive thoughts, with Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors chairman William G. “Buckie” Fore (a part-time employee of this newspaper) and County Administrator Wade Bartlett making their own significant contributions.

“Gathering what I have heard from different members of Town Council,” Dr. Gordon said, “nobody, I think, is closed in their thinking…We're willing to talk and we're willing to help and we're willing to do whatever we can…”

Dr. Gordon continued, saying it would be good “if we sat down and talked and at least got the things on the table to see what you're willing to do or not willing to do, see what the Town is willing to do or not willing to do…It's kind of a different ballgame than it was four years ago.”

Added Mr. Hunter, “What we wanted to do is let you know the (olive) branch is still there.”

That meeting might have ended, instead, with none of those words spoken, none of those thoughts known, and the olive branch still on the tree.

Ms. Thompson's words were the catalyst for what became the most productive public discussion on water by Town and County officials in four years. Significantly, both governing bodies and the general public now know there is a willingness to work together on this vital project.

That knowledge is crucial and will pave the way for the Town-County discussion on how to transform that willingness into effective and historic action for a drought-proof future for the Town of Farmville and Prince Edward County.