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Letter: Stakeholders in exit battle need to listen to, love their neighbors
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As a member of the Martin Road Stakeholders Committee, watching the progress of the battle over Exit 14/Martin Road expansion has been interesting. There are many players in this struggle, from the government officials at all levels to the commercial property owners, the industry-freight companies and the homeowners and their families. With that many contenders, there’s always room for complete breakdown of communication, perspective, objectivity and especially respect. I’ve faced the challenge myself.

When there’s a breakdown, chaos ensues. At Wednesday night’s meeting, while in shock at the chaos unfolding as rational unraveled, I had a turning point. In the midst of a conversation, I realized why I was in this battle. Despite the pandemonium in the room, I suddenly regained my perspective on being a part of the solution to this problem.

The heartbeat of I and my husband has always been to leave any community we live in better when we leave it than when we arrived. With the uncertainty of life, it’s always been our goal to enter a community, roll up our sleeves and do whatever work we’re given, with the perspective to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves — even if it means exposing truth, confronting hard situations or just working to make our community better. 

As a stakeholder member, I think I can speak for us all. We aren’t against change or growth. We are seeking real solutions that are rational, well-planned and responsible that make our community safe while maintaining its natural beauty and way of life. We want to know that when or if we leave, we left behind positive change. There’s no better way to live.

To find the best solution to Exit 14 and the commercial traffic it will bring, every player should offer responsible solutions that maintain a level of respect to the people who live here. We’re hard-working people. We pay taxes so the government can operate. We own property whose taxes keep the fire station operational and the schools educating. We purchase goods and services from the businesses, contributing to the economy.

In essence, we’re the reason the industries exist off Thurmon Tanner. As community members, we aren’t the problem to this expansion. We’re the solution.

If everyone involved said, I want to seek answers that leave this community better when I exit than when I arrived, hands would reach across the table extending fellowship that would make where we work and live a better place for us all.

The question we all must answer is: Do I love (care for, admonish, have one’s best interest at heart) when it comes to my neighbor? The meaning of “neighbor” is not just the person who lives next door. It’s the people we come in contact with at home and at work everyday whom we’ve opportunity to change and impact their lives in a positive way. That’s what living is really about.

Lydia White
Flowery Branch

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