ELECTION 2022: Q&A with Norwood Candidates

Published 8:04 am Saturday, October 29, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Editor’s Note: For coverage of the primary election, The Stanly News & Press sent questions to each group of candidates. We limited their responses to 200 words per answer. Answers appear as is, with the exception of editing for grammatical/ spelling errors or length. This allows potential voters to see the candidates through their own words and gives equal opportunity for the candidates to respond.

Norwood Council

Wes Hartsell*
Keith Morgan
Latonya White

* did not answer

1. What are your qualifications for serving on the town council and what are your reasons for running for office?

Keith Morgan

Morgan: I held several leadership roles while employed at Michelin for 30 years. Have been involved with youth sports in Norwood for over 20 years and have served on the Norwood planning/ zoning board for the past five years.

I also have served on the current town council since March of this year.

These experiences have provided me with a skill set that I believe will be beneficial to the town and its citizens if elected to serve on Norwood’s town council.

I have been a citizen of Norwood all of my life and want to be a voice for our citizens to help determine what Norwood is going to look like in the future.

Latonya White

White: No answer

2. With additions to the town like the downtown social district, the board has sought to increase tourism in the town. Should the town attempt to attract tourism? If so, how should that be achieved?

Morgan: Yes, I believe attracting tourism would be beneficial to Norwood.
We currently promote Norwood as the Gateway to Lake Tillery, but we should also look into promoting other opportunities in our surrounding town areas like Rocky River and Pee Dee River canoeing, Norwood Campground and Lucky Clay Farm just to mention a few.

I personally think the best way to accomplish this is to develop a task force comprised of business owners, citizens and town officials to work together and develop a plan to present to the town council for approval.

White: I do believe that Norwood should try to attract tourism, but I believe the effort should be expanded beyond just central businesses. All businesses in Norwood should be included.

Other areas of interest to build tourism would be Lake Tillery, Fork Farms, and June Berry Ridge.

Partnering with Morrow Mountain State Park, Town Creek Indian Mound in Mt. Gilead and Brown Creek Wildlife in Anson County would give tourists an idea of all the area attractions not only in our town, but areas close by that would make a well rounded trip if they chose to visit.

I also believe putting up metal plaques on downtown buildings to give facts as to what they have been used for in the past is a great way to bring tourists in.

We have a great museum in Norwood and expanding it and making it an easier place to visit and see the town’s history could help increase tourism.

3. What kinds of businesses should the town attempt to recruit to the area, and should the town aggressively or passively do so?

Morgan: As a current member of Norwood’s Planning/Zoning Board we just completed the 20-year future land use plan and in doing so identified several opportunities that would enhance everyday living in Norwood.

Things like a drug store, small scale hospital, hotel, Airbnb, retirement center, restaurants, industrial development just to name a few, all of which would create jobs and increase Norwood’s tax base which in turn could potentially reduce some of the costs for services currently provided by the town.

In the pursuit of any new businesses I believe we should move cautiously to make sure it is what our citizens want and need to improve their quality of life and be a benefit to the town.

White: I will encourage the town to recruit businesses that will provide more jobs for the citizens of Norwood.

We are in need of a larger variety of restaurants, retail locations and daycares. We could also benefit from hotels for those traveling through to other places to stop and stay for the night.

I would work to help recruit businesses that make Norwood a better place to live and work. Norwood has had few changes over the years, so I believe aggressively seeking out these new businesses will only make our town better.

4. What should the town of Norwood do with its water and sewer system to either continue to maintain the system or sell it to another entity?

Morgan: Norwood’s water/sewer rates are high and they have created a burden on everyone, especially our senior citizens and those on fixed incomes.

For many many years the infrastructure for both of these entities has not been kept up to standard and now we are paying the price for that.

If selling our water/sewer system to another entity were to become a viable option, for me to vote to approve another entity taking it over, at a minimum they would have to (1) reduce the water/sewer costs to our citizens, (2) be cost neutral to the town and (3) maintain current infrastructure and provide the necessary infrastructure for future growth.

White: I feel strongly that Norwood should own its water and sewer facilities. Water and sewer are the foundations for growth and service in a town.