In HearSway

Moore County has gained 20,000 new residents since 2000. That’s awesome. Military families and veterans are settling here. Kids who grew up here are moving back. Retirees are buying big again after the recession.

The housing market is booming. As in nearly 400 building permits last year, compared with 160 in 2011. Business is good, too. Local manufacturers are re-investing and veteran-owned operations are multiplying.

Municipalities are working to keep up. Pinehurst (gasp) now allows seasonal above-ground pools. The village is also building a $4.1 million community center. Whispering Pines is putting aside land for a park.

Schools are crowded. County schools’ physical capacity needs to grow by 1,000 students’ worth of elementary classroom space by 2021. State education dollars (and smaller classroom requirements) are not helping. A bond referendum on your May tax ballot, should it pass, will allow the county to borrow money for school construction.

Roads are growing more dangerous. According to local studies, daily commuters in and out of Moore County number 40,000, not counting those not in the workforce. The first of many projects designed to make roads safer will be medians down U.S. 1 and U.S. 15-501, which will prevent left turns.

Conservationists are beginning to take action. Cary-based software CEO Tim Sweeney, a well-known conservation buyer, recently purchased 1,500 acres of longleaf forest between Pinehurst and Foxfire to prevent development.

The takeaway? Everyone is trying to find out how to accommodate all the new people, without sacrificing the things that brought them here in the first place.

If you have some ideas about all this, we’d love to hear them. You know what to do.

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