Reader writes: Let’s raze the walls that divide communities

March 28, 2014 

Chamber supports cooperation

I am writing in response to your recent editorial “County, towns don’t talk but they should.” I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that our many communities should work together in a spirit of cooperation. Too many times I see our different municipalities and the county appearing to be in competition with each other.

In specific, Smithfield and Selma, as close neighbors whose borders actually touch, have long been seen as rivals. Our Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce has an ongoing goal of working to bring these two fine communities together in the spirit of cooperation. Once a month, the chamber sponsors an informal breakfast where officials from both towns meet with chamber and economic-development leaders for the sole purpose of discussing issues of mutual interest. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a move toward more cooperation by developing certified industrial sites and forging economies of scale in purchasing and sharing of services. Our hope at the chamber is that this cooperation will continue and our two communities will work together ultimately to save money and create jobs for local citizens.

Also, the chamber regularly holds meetings that bring together representatives from our two towns, as well as leaders from our county, our state, our school board, our community college and our hospital, to talk about issues that each group is dealing with and to address how these governmental and business groups can work together to help with these issues.

In business, we use the term synergy, which says that the sum of the whole is greater than the total of the parts. This means that we can get more done if we work together. The citizens of our two communities and our county deserve this cooperation and will benefit by living in an area that works together.

I wanted to let our communities know that the Chamber of Commerce completely agrees with your thoughts and is in fact working to help facilitate this idea of working together. Just as we must have cooperation in the business world to strengthen our local economy, we as business leaders think it is beneficial for our politicians and community leaders to let down the walls that divide us and learn to work together for the benefit of the whole.

Keith Dimsdale

Board chairman, Smithfield-Selma Chamber

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