A good investment

Published 6:01 pm Sunday, December 16, 2007

By Staff
Two Hyde County landmarks, one on the mainland and the other on Ocracoke Island, are being adapted for other uses.
Adapting Mattamuskeet Lodge and the former Coast Guard station on Ocracoke means spending money. That’s where a legislative committee co-chaired by state Sen. Marc Basnight, president pro tempore of the state Senate, comes in. That committee has approved funding to repair and renovate Mattamuskeet Lodge and complete renovations at the former Ocracoke U.S. Coast Guard Station now being used as a teacher training facility.
That money will help restore and preserve two historic landmarks in Hyde County. And when historic buildings that have outlived their original purposes can be adapted for other uses to benefit the public, that’s a good use of taxpayers’ money. The money being spent on the two structures helps preserve part of Hyde County’s past, but it also provides promise for Hyde County’s future.
The Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations approved $1.5 million for structural repair and planning for renovations of the Mattamuskeet Lodge and adjoining observation tower.
He’s right.
If the Statue of Liberty in New York lets people know they are in the United States of America, Mattamuskeet Lodge lets people know they are in Hyde County.
The Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations also allocated $460,000 to pay for completing renovations at the station that houses the eastern North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teachers. Lawmakers have approved over $7 million since 2002 to completely renovate the facility. NCCAT, the first state-funded center of its kind in the nation, helps North Carolina train and retain exceptional teachers.
When it comes to training and retaining those exceptional teachers, that’s something the state and its taxpayers benefit from. Exceptional teachers often produce exceptional students who go on to become exceptional people in their own right. It’s the success-breeds-success philosophy.
Providing a place to help train teachers to perform better in the classroom should result in students performing better in the classroom.
Preserving meaningful components of North Carolina’s history and providing training so teachers are better equipped to educate the state’s children are excellent ways of spending taxpayers’ money. The benefits from training teachers so they become better teachers will continue from class to class, year after year, generation after generation.
Hyde County isn’t a rich county when it comes to fiscal matters. It doesn’t have the financial resources that Wake County or Mecklenburg County has.
Hyde County’s riches come in the forms of history, natural resources and ways of life that are hard to find elsewhere. Preserving the county’s past and using that past to help improve its future make sense.
Once the renovations of the two landmarks are completed, Hyde County can use its past as the foundation on which to build a better future. The former lodge and former Coast Guard station are not being used for the original purposes for which they were built, and those purposes were admirable.
Instead of letting them crumble over time, visionary people have found excellent adaptive reuses for those facilities.
Hyde County and taxpayers will continue to get their money’s worth from those facilities. That’s a good investment.