BY DEBBIE PAGE
The Troutman Town Council has unanimously approved a recommendation to name the new town baseball/softball complex at ESC Park after avid park champion Jan Comer. The official name will be “The Comer and Friends Complex.”
In her recommendation at the council’s March meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Emily Watson said the honor was “in consideration of the significant contributions of Jan. S. Comer to the origin, development, and continued development of the Troutman Parks and Recreation Committee and department as a whole.”
“It was the desire of the committee to honor her investments of time, interest, and finance over many years.”
Comer humbly refused to be singled out for the recognition, instead insisting that “and Friends” be added to the name, as “she credited her many colleagues, friends, neighbors, and collaborators to her success.”
In its recommendation, the committee said it particularly appreciates “Jan’s excellent collaborative skills and ability to link people together.”
Watson called Comer, the town’s 2014 Citizen of the Year, a true “trailblazer,” saying her fundraising, collaborating, and organizing abilities ultimately made “these amenities a reality for the children and families in our town and surrounding areas.”
“She has tirelessly and selflessly served our town, given to our town, and implemented vision for our town for decades, and it is only fitting that we honor and acknowledge her love and commitment through naming our largest amenity in Troutman ESC Park after her.”
Troutman Town Manager Ron Wyatt noted that Comer has been involved since plans for the creation of the park were first conceived, organizing bake sales, spaghetti suppers, and other fundraisers.
“Jan has been there ever since this park was a dream,” said Wyatt. “She’s been there for the entire walk. She’s recruited a lot of volunteers, money, and effort out of her own pocket and others’.”
Comer is currently raising money for scoreboards for the ball fields.
Mayor Teross Young agreed. “Jan has done outstanding work over the years, and I’m thrilled that the committee and staff offered to name this after her. Her humility shows as it always has in naming it ‘Comer and Friends.’ ”
Young commended her extensive giving of her own resources and time to the park. “It just continues to show the dedication that she has for this town.”
Councilman Paul Henkel expressed disappointment with some critical viewpoints recently expressed on social media about the plans to improve the town’s roads and infrastructure, noting some want the town to return to the 1950s.
Henkel noted that the town is blessed with prosperity and growth that requires planning so growth will occur in a positive manner. He noted the council was being criticized for allowing growth but noted that the council cannot control what others do with their property.
Citizens often do not appreciate the sometimes gut-wrenching decisions they must make to keep town services running at a level citizens desire, added Henkel.
If the critics feel so strongly, Henkel suggested they band together to buy the land to preserve it, but they should also be ready for taxes to rise exponentially to provide town services if the tax base shrinks.
Henkel said the council tries to do things in the town’s best interest but is often criticized for it. He urged people to tune in to meetings, ask questions, and understand what is happening and avoid knee-jerk reactions to comments online that may not be true.
Council and town staff are trying to promote smart growth and to bring businesses and services to Troutman that community members desire but that will only come with growth, he said.
Mayor Young agreed that social media is sometimes used only to criticize. He urged citizens to get involved with committees and volunteer opportunities as the pandemic abates and to throw their name in the hat for elected offices if they desire.
In other business:
♦ The council approved an agreement with GovOffice to design, update and maintain the town’s website.
♦ Council reappointed Kenny Overcash as an inside member of the Board of Adjustment.
♦ Councilman George Harris urged all eligible town residents to get their COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they can. Harris has completed both shots and said it was a “great relief.” He said that everyone getting a vaccine is a step toward to getting life back to normal.
Wyatt noted that staff members are being assisted in getting appointments for their shots now that government employees are eligible.
♦ Councilman Eddie Nau thanked the Troutman Fire Department for assisting the Statesville department in fighting the recent fire at Crazy Dave’s on Shelton Avenue. He also commended the firefighters for the “terrific job” they do and their dedication to be there for Troutman and to assist other communities day and night, 365 days per year.
♦ Council member Sally Williams noted the March anniversary of COVID-19 measures beginning but was encouraged by recent signs of hope with falling COVID-19 cases and the arrival of vaccines. She looks forward to the day that masks are removed and life returns to normal.
♦ The council had no announcements after a long closed session to discuss acquisition of property.